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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Sep 7 2012 @ 3:45 am In Minnesota Vikings | No Comments

The 2012 NFL season is underway and fans everywhere are ready.  Nationally, nobody really cares about what happens Sunday when Jacksonville visits Minnesota, but fans in the Twin Cities are fired up.  And for this game, they have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.  Of course most Viking fans don’t really need a reason, they are always looking forward to the 1st game of the season.

This game will feature two teams that have some striking similarities.  Both have 2nd year QB’s that struggled during their rookie year.  Both teams feature an elite running back that hasn’t play during the preseason; the Jags’ Maurice Jones-Drew due to a holdout and of course, Adrian Peterson is trying to come back from his knee surgery.  The reports coming out of Minnesota are that Peterson will play, but I don’t expect to see too much of AP, maybe 5-10 plays.  Jones-Drew will probably see very little action as well.  With the two best players limited at best, the QB’s are going to have to make some plays in order for their team to win.  The advantage here goes to Christian Ponder and the Vikes.  While Blaine Gabbert posted similar numbers to Ponder last year, he looked scared when there was pressure on him.  With MJD just returning and Jared Allen(22 sacks in 2011) coming off the line, I expect him to be under a lot of pressure during the game.

Offensively, Minnesota has more to work with in this game.  RB Toby Gerhart, who has looked very good during the preseason, will get plenty of touches in the absence of AP.  The Viking’s passing game is also much more solid than Jacksonville’s.  Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins will be the main WR’s this week because newcomer Jerome Simpson has to sit out a 3-game suspension,  and expect TE Kyle Rudolph to have a big game against the Jags, on the way to a breakout season.

While on defense, the Vikings have a chance to dominate this game.  In addition to Allen, the Minny-D will feature guys like Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway.  These guys should make life very difficult for Gabbert all day.  I don’t expect this to be a high scoring game, but I don’t think it will be that close either; MIN 24 – JAX 3.

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