Matchup To Watch

December 25, 2005

Ravens wide receivers Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason vs. Vikings cornerbacks Antoine Winfield and Brian Williams

George Kokinis, the Ravens' pro personnel director, sizes up the top matchup against the Vikings:

The players

Clayton, the 22nd overall pick in this year's draft, has come on strong the past three games, averaging 5.3 catches and 71.6 yards. He owns the Ravens' rookie receiving record with 36 receptions, which ranks third overall on the team.

Mason leads the Ravens in catches (74) and receiving yards (897) in his first year with the team. The former Tennessee Titan is second in the NFL with 26 receptions on third down.

Winfield, a top free-agent acquisition from the Buffalo Bills in 2004, is tied for second on Minnesota with four interceptions.

Williams has been a full-time starter with the Vikings since 2003.

What to watch

This is a quality matchup because the Ravens' receivers were productive coming off of Monday night and the Vikings' cornerbacks are one of the solid tandems in the NFL.

Winfield has been a highly productive player. He's an undersized tough guy who will be matching up against our undersized tough receivers. Winfield is a 5-foot-9 corner but hits like a 6-1 safety. Williams is a bigger player than Winfield and has good coverage skills.

Clayton has benefited from watching Mason this season. He is understanding the work that it takes to be an efficient receiver in the league. From looking at Mason, he is learning how to get separation one-on-one and the subtle moves to set up routes.

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