4 important Cincinnati Bengals for Week 1 vs. Vikings
By Eric Bruns
Important Cincinnati Bengals vs. Vikings – No. 1 and 2: Trey Hendrickson, Logan Wilson
Is it too hyperbolic to say the entire defense is most important? At least their improvement? The Bengals ranked 29th in 2020 in rushing yards per game at 148.0. They faired better in the passing game ranking 19th allowing an average of 241.2 yards per game in 2020.
Vonn Bell and Jesse Bates are returning to secure the safety positions, but both starting cornerbacks are new Bengals with Trae Waynes (who isn’t even playing) and Chidobe Awuzie. The Bengals wanted to help improve the defensive front with a great pass rusher. It’s the hope that this will be Trey Hendrickson, who spent the first four years of his career in New Orleans.
Hendrickson is coming off of an impressive 2020 campaign in New Orleans with 13.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. The Bengals don’t want Kirk Cousins to get comfortable behind his line so the defense will need to keep Cousins under pressure and on his heels in order to disrupt their offense. Hopefully, Hendrickson can be that player.
Dalvin Cook is a monster for the Vikings. To ensure success for the Bengals, they will need to stop Cook and get the Vikings offense off of the field. The entire front seven will need to stop Cook.
With Logan Wilson eyeing a much more significant role in 2021, everyone is looking to the youngster to have a break-out season in 2021. According to PFF, Wilson’s preseason ranked only second behind Joseph Ossai for the Bengals, but as we know, Ossai won’t be playing this year due to injury.
If Wilson can play up to the expectations the Bengals had when they drafted him in 2020 he could be a big deal this season. He had a solid rookie outing and will have a much more significant role this season. Wilson will need to fill the right gaps and stop Cook from having his way with the Bengals’ defense.
If the Bengals can stop Cook and keep Cousins under pressure, they can win this game.