Minnesota Vikings (3rd in NFC North) @ New York Jets (1st in AFC East)
Monday October 11 2010 @ 8:30 PM
New Meadowlands Stadium
QB Brett Favre has failed to generate the same offensive energy that facilitated the 2009 Vikings. Maybe he should dedicate more time to resolving the miscommunications with his receivers instead of cavorting with hostesses and massage therapists. It must be a rough season when you deliver fewer touchdowns than cell-phone snapshots of “Lil’ Brett”. Favre has only connected in the end-zone twice, and he has averaged two interceptions per game. QB Mark Sanchez continues to silence his critics following a clean sweep through the AFC East. Behind a resilient offensive line, Sanchez has thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions without enduring a solitary sack his previous two games. His swift execution is manifested in a self-assured attitude. Sanchez articulated that position in his news conference Wednesday. “I think we’re a lot more confident this year, me especially. Just with the production … it’s put us into a rhythm.”
Adrian Peterson is the preeminent RB in the NFL. He averages 130.7 rushing yards per game, surpassed only by Arian Foster (134.2 YPG), in spite of accumulating 15 fewer attempts (70) than Foster (85). He is unquestionably the nucleus of the Minnesota offense, employing a distinctive combination of aggression and athleticism. According to LB Bart Scott, Peterson distinguishes himself by provoking contact. “There are very few violent runners in this game. He is going to scrap and fight for every inch.” Furthermore, Peterson has suppressed his tendency to fumble this season. RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene have combined for 564 of the Jets 671 total rushing yards this season, the second most in the NFL. Tomlinson was recognized for his outstanding performance in Buffalo (133 yards on 19 attempts and 2 TDs) by earning FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week honors. It would be redundant for the Jets to modify their run-oriented philosophy considering the assortment of weapons at their disposal; principal receivers are frequent contributors on reverses and WR Brad Smith (8 attempts for 79 yards, 9.9 YPA) capably manages option-style formations.
One explanation for Minnesota’s inefficiency through the air is the void created by WR Sidney Rice’s assignment to the Physically Unable to Perform list. Favre has relied heavily on dispensing quick tosses to Peterson. TE Visanthe Shiancoe has developed a reputation as a dependable presence in the red zone, however he is currently battling a hamstring injury and won’t be fully operational for Monday. WR Percy Harvin (12 receptions for 106 yards, 1 TD) was Favre’s most stable option. He is competent enough to punish the Jets defense if they converge on newly acquired WR Randy Moss. Moss will eventually serve as the Vikings prime receiver, but his expectations for this particular game should be reduced. TE Dustin Keller has evolved into a relentless competitor with an appetite for the ball. He is tied for second in the NFL with 7 total red zone targets, and he is tied for first with 4 red zone touchdowns. Sanchez evenly distributes the ball amongst the remainder of his arsenal; WR Braylon Edwards (12 receptions for 227 yards, 3 TDs), Tomlinson (12 receptions for 82 yards), and WR Jerricho Cotchery (11 receptions for 90 yards, 1 TD). Moss’s thunder will inevitably be stolen by another participant debuting in an unfamiliar uniform, WR Santonio Holmes. Holmes will benefit from his regular attendance at offensive meetings throughout the length of his suspension; nevertheless he will be gradually introduced to the system at a modest pace.
Minnesota is ranked 4th in the NFL surrendering 276.3 total yards per game. More impressive is their resistance to committing penalties, having accrued a meager 102 yards on 13 missteps through the season. CB Antoine Winfield is serviceable in coverage, but he could become overwhelmed without CB Chris Cook available. LB Chad Greenway is a versatile contributor on every down, and DE Jared Allen is a tenacious pass rusher. Fortunately for New York, their vital defensive components should be functional by kickoff. LB Calvin Pace will enhance a humble pass rush that allows a discomfiting 233.2 passing yards per game, tied for 10th worst in the NFL, and CB Darrelle Revis can singlehandedly dispose of elite receivers when his hamstrings cooperate. In spite of those temporary absences, the Jets revealed sufficient depth defensively. DE Shaun Ellis leads the team with three sacks, and CB Antonio Cromartie has snared two interceptions. Minnesota K Ryan Longwell has extracted the maximum from his rare appearances this season, nailing his three FG attempts. New York K Nick Folk has been somewhat more industrious, connecting on 7 of 9 FG attempts; a reasonable percentage considering one miss was a 61 yarder to conclude the first half against Miami.
Jets Injury Report
Player Position Injury Friday Practice Participation
Conner, John FB Neck Full
Ellis, Shaun DE Knee Limited
Hunter, Wayne T Shin Limited
Mangold, Nick C Shoulder Limited
Moore, Brandon G Hamstring Limited
Pace, Calvin LB Foot Full
Revis, Darrelle CB Hamstring Limited
Taylor, Jason LB Elbow Full
Westerman, Jamaal LB Ankle Limited
Vikings Injury Report
Player Position Injury Friday Practice Participation
Cook, Chris CB Knee Did Not Practice
Favre, Brett QB Ankle/ Limited
McKinnie, Bryant T Finger Full
Shiancoe, Visanthe TE Hamstring Limited
Sullivan, John C Calf Limited
Minnesota has underachieved in the course of the initial stage of the season. Their bye week arrived at an opportune time considering the assortment of medical setbacks the offense was subjected to. The Vikings mediocre record (1-2) is representative of their offensive deficiencies; 14.3 points notched per game is 30th in the NFL rankings. Paradoxically, Minnesota has absorbed more scandalous headlines recently than a New York team who arrogantly savors the attention. Of course, Favre’s alleged unsavory behavior ensued while he represented the Jets, go figure. New York must rise above their recent substandard Monday Night performances and embrace the advantage of an eager and motivated New Meadlowlands Stadium crowd. The Jets have an opportunity to improve their presently tremendous record (3-1) by triumphing over an NFC team who met an identical fate in the 2009 conference championship. The Jets are riding a wave provoked from confidence in their quarterback, but victory cannot be guaranteed without respecting the potential from the other man under center who has built his historic career on prevailing in critical games.
About the Author
Written by Evan Rosenberg
Evan is a graduate student at New York University and a competitive chess player. His local roots generated the unwavering support for the Jets he exhibits to this day.