The call: Vikings vs. Jacksonville

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 9, 2012 - 1:45 AM
hide

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL’s leading rusher last season, ended his holdout last week.

Photo: John Raoux, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

One man's prediction: Vikings 27, Jacksonville 24 Adrian Peterson will do his best to get the home crowd revved up, potentially making his official return just 37 weeks and a day after tearing his left knee up. But in a game between teams that combined for eight wins in 2011, rookie kicker Blair Walsh will get the final say, winning the game with a field goal in the final 2 minutes.

Ground control No one in the Vikings locker room believes the rhetoric from Jacksonville that Maurice Jones-Drew will be used primarily as a third-down back. Said Jared Allen: "Yeah, right. Maybe he won't start. But the second play, he'll be in there." Still, with all respect to Jones-Drew, the Vikings cannot overlook the Jaguars' likely starter, Rashad Jennings. After missing all of 2011 because of a knee injury, Jennings has shown an impressive combination of vision and power plus an ability to make things happen after contact.

Sack machine Last time we saw Allen in the regular season at the Metrodome, he was terrorizing poor Josh McCown of Chicago, recording 3 1/2 sacks in the 2011 finale to complete a team-record 22-sack season. Last we checked in on Blaine Gabbert, he was completing a skittish rookie campaign in which he lacked pocket presence and was sacked 40 times. Allen will try to introduce himself -- and his calf-roping act -- to Gabbert and should have a nice matchup against Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe.

Safety first Don't be surprised if Christian Ponder makes tight end Kyle Rudolph his most frequent target. The two have developed quite a rapport, and Rudolph is the kind of safety valve target Ponder needs to build confidence. More important for Ponder: avoiding sacks and taking care of the ball. You'd think the comforts of home would provide a semblance of reassurance. But in five home starts as a rookie, he completed only 51.6 percent of his passes and committed 10 of his 15 turnovers.

MANO-A-MANO: A MATCHUP TO WATCH

Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil (below) vs. Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch

About Kalil The rookie out of Southern California, the No. 4 overall pick in April, didn't allow a sack during his final college season.

About Branch The rookie out of Clemson, a second-round pick, had 17 tackles for loss and an ACC-best 10 1/2 sacks in 2011.

Who has the edge? Kalil was a tad shaky in his final preseason action two weeks ago but seems intent on bouncing back. Advantage: Kalil

The big number

12: Thousands of yards surpassed by Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew since 2007. They have combined for 12,665, and rank first and second in the category during that span. Neither back will see a heavy workload this afternoon. Which is a shame. Because this could have been a showcase of two of the NFL's best backs.

Breakout day

Percy Harvin, Vikings: During the second half of last season, Harvin had 56 catches for 633 yards and six touchdowns and added 160 rushing yards, proving he can be the Vikings' top playmaker when needed. In this season opener, it might be needed.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 101 4th Qtr 0:18
Denver 102
Philadelphia 51 3rd Qtr
Portland 61
Phoenix 59 3rd Qtr
Sacramento 56
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 4th Qtr 10:04
UCF 20
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close