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The call: Vikings vs. Indianapolis

  • September 16, 2012 - 7:21 AM

One man's prediction

The Vikings found a way to score an improbable come-from-behind victory last week, at home against Jacksonville. Now this young team gets a legitimate chance to win on the road. It helps that Indianapolis has health and stability issues on the offensive line and will not have standout rush linebacker Dwight Freeney, who is injured. VIKINGS 31, COLTS 27

Back so soon?

In just his second game as Vikings defensive coordinator, Alan Williams returns to Indianapolis, where he spent 10 seasons as defensive backs coach. Williams' homecoming checklist is lengthy. He must scheme to rattle Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck early. He must find ways to contain Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne (nine catches, 135 yards in Week 1). And he must get the backups in his hockey-style defensive line rotation to help batter and fatigue the Colts' patched up O-line.

Danger lurks

Colts coach Chuck Pagano is worried about the pressure the Vikings might put on Luck. With good reason. Jared Allen, last season's sack king, didn't register a tackle against Jacksonville and will be antsy to make an impact. Across the way, Brian Robison is coming off a disruptive game in which he had a tackle for loss, two hurries and a pass deflection. Pagano calls Allen "a game wrecker." Of Robison, he said: "We call him a rolling ball of butcher knives. He's got a motor that doesn't stop."

An opportunity

If the Vikings can remain disciplined with protection, Christian Ponder will have chances to attack. Indianapolis, under coordinator Greg Manusky, has switched to a 3-4 defense designed to be more aggressive. But that also often leaves the secondary vulnerable. Of the Colts' top four corners, Jerraud Powers is the most established. Vontae Davis (acquired Aug. 26 from Miami) is a new arrival in a new system. And Justin King and Cassius Vaughn remain young and error-prone.

MANO-A-MANO:

A MATCHUP TO WATCH

Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky vs. Vikings receiver Percy Harvin

About Manusky

In first year with Colts after coordinator jobs in San Diego (2011) and San Francisco (2007-10).

About Harvin

Was everywhere in Week 1. Six catches, 84 yards. Five carries, 20 yards.

Who has the edge?

Harvin seems to get more dynamic by the week and remains ultra-difficult to game-plan for.

Advantage: Harvin

105.5 Christian Ponder's Week 1 rating was a single-game career best. It was also the best QB rating posted in the NFC North and ranks fifth in the conference behind Robert Griffin III (139.9), Matt Ryan (136.4), Tony Romo (129.5) and Alex Smith (125.6).

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: Five Chicago players had receptions of longer than 20 yards against the Colts last week. So there will be plenty of opportunity to go around. Rudolph had the Vikings' longest catch of Week 1, a 29-yarder late in the third quarter.

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