If the opener was an indication of things to come, the Vikes have to be pleased with the play of 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder at quarterback. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars—one of last year's top-10 pass defenses—Ponder went 20-of-27 for 270 yards in a very efficient outing.
Meanwhile, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck looked like a rookie in his NFL debut at Soldier Field, turning the ball over four times in a 41-21 defeat.
Here are the latest injury reports, spreads and other predictions for Sunday's showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Current Betting Line (via OddsShark):
Spread: Minnesota (-1.5)
Money Line: Minnesota (-125), Indianapolis (+105)
What's at Stake
You're not going to believe this, but the Minnesota Vikings could be leading the NFC North at week's end if they can steal a road victory at Indianapolis. Both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears are .500 after the Thursday night game in Lambeau, and the Detroit Lions take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.
Getting a game up on all of those playoff-caliber teams could go a long way for Minnesota.
In the Colts' case, it's about getting that first "W" of the Andrew Luck era. It is a new chapter for the franchise, and head coach Chuck Pagano's defensive mentality didn't translate to a terrific Week 1 showing.
That was partially due to all the turnovers on offense, though. Luck should bounce back against a weaker Vikings secondary and keep this contest close.
Injury News (via ESPN):
Minnesota Vikings: Jarius Wright, WR (ankle) QUESTIONABLE, Marvin Mitchell, LB (undisclosed) QUESTIONABLE, Andrew Sendejo, S (undisclosed) QUESTIONABLE.
Indianapolis Colts: Austin Collie, WR (concussion) QUESTIONABLE, Delone Carter, RB (undisclosed) QUESTIONABLE, Dwight Freeney, DE (ankle) QUESTIONABLE, Pat Angerer, LB(foot) DOUBTFUL.
Luck should face an easier test against the Vikings this week, especially after they were on their heels against Jags QB Blaine Gabbert.
However, Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier is known for his defense, and it seems it will only be a matter of time before his team turns it around on that side of the ball.
11th Hour Fantasy Advice:
Andrew Luck: Worth a look if you're absolutely stretched thin at quarterback. Otherwise, his offensive line may not be able to handle the Vikings' defensive front four, led by terrifying defensive end Jared Allen. Proceed with caution.
Reggie Wayne: The veteran notched an astounding 18 targets against the Bears, and hauled in nine passes for 135 yards. Wayne should be able to find the end zone once in front of the home crowd and is clearly Luck's go-to guy.
Adrian Peterson: Your friends probably told you, "What an awful idea to draft AP so high in your draft!"
If you were bold and drafted Peterson, you had all day Sunday to laugh at your opponent. Two touchdowns and nearly five yards per carry shows that the superstar running back is shockingly explosive coming off a major knee injury.
Percy Harvin: It's always a bit of a wildcard to go with Harvin, who has been inconsistent in his otherwise fantastic young career due to persistent migraine headaches.
Harvin hasn't shown any ill effects thus far. He gets carries out of the backfield, the most looks in the passing game, and returns kicks. It wouldn't be wise to bench him this week.
It will be a defining game for both teams, but the Colts will be one-dimensional against a stout Vikings run defense. Luck will continue his first-year growing pains, but will make enough plays to keep the game interesting.
Peterson will prove to be too much for an overmatched Colts front seven, who might also be without Dwight Freeney.
Final score: Vikings 24, Colts 21
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