Bengals: Early matchups to watch vs. the Vikings in Week 1

Cincinnati Bengals helmet (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals helmet (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Dalvin Cook (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals will need to be better at stopping the run.

One of the biggest deterrents of the 2020 Bengals, was their inability to stop the run. Cincinnati did not do a good job helping their secondary or their rookie quarterback last year but is hoping for an improvement in that department.

The new defensive line will face a difficult test on Sunday when they have the task of slowing down Dalvin Cook. The Bengals will look to their two big linemen in the middle to force penetration that disrupts running between the tackles.

D.J. Reader enters this year coming off of an injury that saw him miss the majority of 2020. The marquee free-agent signing of 2020 is hoping to take a step forward and prove he was worth the large contract. He will be paired with recent free-agent signing, Larry Ogunjobi, who is joining from the Cleveland Browns.

The middle of this defense appears strong on paper, which will put pressure on Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson to maintain position on the edges. If Cincinnati’s defensive line can hold up, the linebackers should be able to fill gaps and create a disruptive presence. If Dalvin Cook runs wild, this could be a long game for Bengal’s fans.