Two teams highlighting the final week of preseason action are the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans with both looking to build momentum around young quarterbacks and superstar running backs.
The Titans and Vikings will not play each other during the regular season, but Minnesota won, 30-7, when they met in 2012. With starters expected to be active for Week 4 of the preseason, bragging rights will be at stake in Minneapolis, as Tennessee looks to avenge its lopsided defeat from a year ago.
The question is, who will emerge victorious?
When: Thursday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Mall of America Field in Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: KARE-11 (Minnesota), WKRN-2 (Tennessee)
Live Stream: NFL.com (subscription required)
Betting Line: Titans (-4.5) via BOVADA
Tennessee Titans' Injuries
The Titans enter the game with injuries all over the place, but there is no bigger void than that at wide receiver. Kevin Walter and Kendall Wright were expected to be featured players, but they'll both miss the preseason finale against Minnesota.
Wright is expected to be ready for the regular season opener, according to the Titans' official website. Unfortunately, Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press reports that Walter will miss the first six weeks of the regular season following back surgery.
Minnesota Vikings' Injuries
Questionable: Sharrif Floyd (Knee)
The Vikings enter the game with a banged-up defensive line, as Christian Ballard and Kevin Williams have been ruled out, and Sharrif Floyd is questionable. Minnesota couldn't have picked a worse preseason week to lose its interior linemen, as it prepares to go up against CJ2K, Chris Johnson.
With Tennessee testing out its new and improved offensive line and Minnesota without three of its primary run-stoppers, this could get interesting.
Top Storyline: Class of 2011 Quarterbacks Meet
Entering the 2013 NFL regular season, few players are under as much pressure to produce as the quarterbacks of the 2011 NFL draft. Two will be featured in this game, as Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder goes up against Titans field general Jake Locker.
Cam Newton may be a star from that draft, but Locker, Ponder and Blaine Gabbert are all still searching for answers.
Locker and Ponder both have superstar running backs in Johnson and Adrian Peterson. In order to become a Super Bowl contender, however, both teams will need their quarterbacks to elevate their level of play.
Injuries have been an issue for Locker while Ponder has been a strong contributor, but hasn't yet displayed the ability to lead an offense. With a much-improved receiving corps in Minnesota and a drastically improved offensive line in Tennessee, both are expected to shine.
We'll get a first head-to-head preview of the season during this preseason clash.
If both teams were going at full strength, it'd be difficult to pick against the Vikings with Peterson lining up in the backfield. However, the Vikings have been resting Peterson all preseason and are expected to be without Williams and Floyd.
Who will win?
Expect Johnson to remind the world that he can also run for 2,000 yards.
Johnson had what some referred to as a down year in 2012, but the Titans' offensive line ranked among the worst in the NFL and Tennessee's inconsistency at quarterback had every defense thinking run. Still, Johnson topped 1,200 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry during the final 13 weeks.
With little resistance up the gut and Locker needing a breakout performance, expect the Titans to step up and win in Minnesota.
Titans 24, Vikings 20