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B/R Consensus: Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
Vegas: Vikings -5
People overlook the Vikings, but this is a team that went through a lot in 2011 and still managed to stick with teams more than critics give them credit for.
What the win-loss record didn't always indicate is that this is a team on the rise. The Metrodome is a rough place to play for visitors, and Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert just isn't ready for that pressure.
In this battle of two second-year quarterbacks, the better defense will win out.
Jared Allen and the Vikings should be able to get to Gabbert, but ultimately, the Jacksonville defense is the better overall unit.
Christian Ponder could have a rough day if his backfield can’t bail him out.
Blaine Gabbert has certainly looked better this preseason, but as mentioned, Week 1 in the Metrodome is a tough draw. The noise will give Jared Allen and Minny a big advantage.
For the Vikings, Toby Gerhart and Adrian Peterson will get plenty of carries to keep the pressure off of Christian Ponder.
I don't believe Blaine Gabbert is ready to win a high-pressure game on the road. Maurice Jones-Drew likely won't be in the game for the Jags, and while Gabbert is improved, he's not ready for this one.
It's a loss and a bad omen for the Jags' season.
Minnesota's defensive front will ultimately be too much for Gabbert to overcome. While Rashad Jennings is a solid runner, he's no Maurice Jones-Drew, who, even if he returns, won't start.
Meanwhile, Christian Ponder will be able to move the ball well using Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph and a combination of Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
Other Votes: Frenz, Vikings; Hangst, Jaguars; Hansen, Vikings; Gagnon, Vikings; Langland, Vikings; Bardeen, Jaguars