Brian Hoyer, the Browns’ third-string quarterback a week ago, will make his second NFL start today.
Mark Duncan •Associated Press,
Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas runs off the field after a preseason NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) ORG XMIT: MIN2013092016442649
The Call: Cleveland at Vikings
- Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS
- Star Tribune
- September 21, 2013 - 6:09 PM
One man’s prediction: Both teams are 0-2, but the Vikings should win this one decidedly. The Vikings are playing their home opener and showed some progress in a loss at Chicago last week. The Browns, on the other hand, raised the white flag on this season when they promoted No. 3 QB Brian Hoyer to starter and traded starting RB Trent Richardson midweek to the Colts.
Looking for a fast start
The Vikings should script plays that allow Christian Ponder to complete some passes and build confidence early in the game. If he has a shaky start, the Metrodome crowd won’t react too kindly. Ponder regrouped after his pick-six last week and made plays with his feet and arm that put the Vikings in position to win. Now, he needs to build on that without taking a step backward.
Get the ball to Patterson
Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson will play more than six offensive snaps in this game. Leslie Frazier promised to “rectify” Patterson’s scarce playing time after he played only 11 snaps the first two games. Yes, Patterson plays the same receiver position as Jerome Simpson, who is off to a fast start. But offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave must find a way to utilize Patterson’s big-play talent.
The Browns elected to start Hoyer and not backup Jason Campbell in place of injured starter Brandon Weeden. It doesn’t matter who is under center if the Browns don’t protect better. The Vikings pass rush should be able to generate consistent pressure against a Browns offensive line that has allowed an NFL-leading 11 sacks and 27 quarterback hits. The Vikings have amassed 119 sacks in 38 games at the Metrodome since 2008.
MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH
Vikings DE Jared Allen vs. Browns LT Joe Thomas
Recorded his 118th career sack last week, forcing a Jay Cutler fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
Six-time Pro Bowl selection has started all 98 games in his career and has not missed an offensive snap since being drafted in 2007.
Who has the edge?
Let’s call it a draw. This is a heavyweight matchup between two of the best at their positions. It’s hard to imagine either player winning this head-to-head decisively.
THE BIG NUMBER
25.5 Browns’ average age per player, making them the second-youngest team, behind the Rams. The Browns also are tied for the most rookie and first-year players with 15.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings: Yes, the Browns have been stout against the run, allowing only 59.5 yards per game. But Peterson seems particularly motivated after the loss to the Bears, even though he rushed for 100 yards. He had 180 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns in 2009.
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