Minnesota Vikings: 5 Players to Watch Against the Indianapolis Colts
They have a decent shot to begin the season 2-0, as they go into Indianapolis to the play the Colts and rookie QB Andrew Luck. Luck struggled last week against a tough Chicago Bears squad, but I would expect that he’ll be on his A-game during his first-ever home appearance.
That said, Minnesota has the talent to go into Indianapolis and steal a win. For that to happen, a few key players on both sides of the ball will have to step up their game.
Let me begin by saying that Robison is nowhere near the player that superstar Jared Allen is; however, he may become as important a player for the Vikings as the season progresses.
Allen posted an all-time great season last year, almost breaking the all-time sack record. This is going to lead to even more increased attention turned his way. If he’s not double- or triple-teamed on every single pass play of the season, I’ll be surprised.
That gives Robison a huge opportunity to get after the quarterback. Over the past few years, he’s proven to be a better-than-average pass-rusher and he’ll only get better as Allen sees more and more blockers go his way.
Robison has to capitalize on this; especially against a young quarterback like Andrew Luck. Yes, Luck is one of the best prospects we’ve seen in awhile, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be rattled. Robison should be breathing down his neck early and often, which will lead to much easier day for the men in purple.
Kalil is on this list for one reason: Robert Mathis. Mathis has long been one of the better pass-rushers in the NFL, and you know he’ll be coming hard against a young QB-OT combo like Kalil and Christian Ponder.
Kalil has to show the world the skills that made him such a high draft pick this past offseason. He played well against the Jaguars last week, but Mathis is a completely different animal.
If the Vikings' young O-lineman can step up his game against such a quality opponent, you can bet his QB will be taking him out for steak the next night.
Ponder is showing flashes of being worth the high pick in 2011, but he still needs time to throw. Here’s hoping Kalil can get him that time.
EDIT: This is the reason you shouldn't write articles past midnight, you make a huge mistake and talk about a player who's not even on the team. Apologies to all, as I made a bad error talking about Brandon Carr over Winfield, the guy I meant to put on the slideshow. Changes have been made where needed.
If there’s one player on the Colts that’s going to cause major headaches for the Vikings defense, it’s Reggie Wayne.
Wayne proved last week that he hasn’t lost anything and can play as well as anybody in the league—even with a rookie quarterback.
Chris Cook will likely also see himself line up across from Wayne from time to time, but I think Winfield is the slightly better player at this point.
That means he needs to have a huge game and slow Wayne down some. Not only that, but Minnesota really needs someone in the secondary to step up and force the young QB into some turnovers.
Outside of Percy Harvin, the Vikings don’t really have a proven receiver. Now, this isn’t to say that they don’t have talent at the wideout spot, it's just that none of the players have consistently proven to be the secondary threat Minnesota desperately needs.
This is where Rudolph needs to come in. The young tight end has solid speed, runs precise routes and can go up and get the football.
He’s never going to be a Randy Moss-like deep threat, but he does stretch the defense and give Harvin much more favorable matchups.
Rudolph has a great connection with Christian Ponder, but he really needs to make his presence known more in the red zone. If he can become a weapon down around the goal line, this team will be much more competitive than people think.
All over the nation, people were wondering if Peterson could come back and be his old self after his horrific knee injury last season.
Not only did AP come back, but he played better than anyone could’ve possibly expected. His two TDs were huge, but I was more impressed with his 17 carries—particularly the ones that came in the second half.
Peterson has long been known as a guy who just gets stronger as the game goes along. That was the area I thought we might see drop off for the running back, but he was his old self; busting off a 20-yard run late in the game when Minnesota needed it most.
It’s obvious to say that this team will only go as far as Peterson takes them. He is THE MAN for the Vikings and he has to keep producing big numbers to keep adding to the win column.
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