Full Week 4 Stat Predictions for Every Minnesota Vikings Offensive Player
"London calling to the faraway towns. Now that war is declared and battle come down!"
Quoting The Clash would have been more fitting if the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers weren't a combined 0-6 entering their Week 4 showdown Sunday in London. But with the prospect of another loss dancing on the horizon, there's no doubt about it, this is a must-win game for both of these franchises.
Coming up with this list of full Week 4 stat projections was based on two major components.
The first one was analyzing how the Minnesota offense has looked so far this season. The second factor came down to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the Pittsburgh defense.
Combining those two elements, it's now time to start the slideshow below and check out the full Week 4 stat projections for every Vikings offensive player.
*All stats courtesy of ESPN.com unless noted otherwise.
Projecting stats for the quarterback position this week is a tricky situation because of the rib injury suffered by starting quarterback Christian Ponder. With that in mind, here are two sets of projections for Ponder and backup QB Matt Cassel.
If Ponder can suit up this weekend and play against the Steelers in London, things could go downhill quickly.
Like most Vikings fans, if you've watched this team play, you understand that Ponder is having issues this season—according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Ponder is currently the 30th-ranked QB in the NFL.
If the Steelers can generate enough pressure, already nursing an injury, Ponder's day could go from bad to worse.
Aside from his injury, because of his inconsistent play, it's extremely hard to project Ponder putting up better numbers than he has so far this season.
Projection: 233 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 interceptions
While no one knows for sure if backup QB Matt Cassel will start this Sunday, one legendary QB believes there is a real chance he will.
During his weekly press conference, when talking to CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady said that Cassel could be the Vikings starting QB this weekend in London.
If things shake out like Brady says, it's will be hard to project Cassel's stats considering the last time we saw him in action was during the preseason.
But if Cassel can manage to keep his turnovers down and find his wide receivers in space, with the talent on this roster, Vikings fans know that good things could happen.
Projection: 271 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 interception
With Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record all but out of reach, Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson is entering Week 4 with something to prove.
Still the most devastating runner in the NFL, for all of his perceived "struggles," Peterson is still ranked sixth in rushing yards.
Going up against the Steelers in London, unlike their defenses of the past, this year's Pittsburgh squad has struggled against the run—according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the Steelers have a negative-5.6 run defense grade.
Thanks to the Vikings' struggles in the passing game, there's a good chance the Steelers will stack the box against Peterson. But like always, Peterson's talent should give him a ton of chances to break the 100-yard rushing mark and score a touchdown or two this Sunday.
Projection: 24 carries, 116 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 4.8 yards per carry/3 receptions, 22 yards receiving
Toby Gerhart's value this season has been minimal. With just five carries to his credit in three games, don't expect to see much of the former Stanford Cardinal against the Steelers.
Projection: 2 carries, 7 yards rushing, 3.5 yards per carry/1 reception, 6 yards receiving
Do you think Greg Jennings misses Aaron Rodgers yet?
Arguably the biggest addition to Minnesota's roster this past offseason, Jennings has struggled to make any sort of impact thanks to the erratic play of Ponder.
Registering just 11 catches for 161 yards and zero touchdowns, if things don't turn around in a hurry, Jennings could be in for a long season.
While according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) the Steelers pass defense has struggled, the fact remains that this defense still boasts a strong pass rush.
Unless whoever plays QB for the Vikings gets time in the pocket to make his reads, Jennings is going to struggle once again to put up decent numbers.
Projection: 3 receptions, 38 yards receiving
Last week, Vikings rookie wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted four times, catching two passes for 49 yards.
Now, as the season presses on, there's no reason why Patterson should not be more involved in the team's offensive strategy.
He's explosive and has shown a unique ability to inflict maximum damage with the ball in his hands. That factor alone should get this young man more snaps on the football field.
With a season hanging in the balance and a poor Steelers pass defense out there on the field, expect Patterson to get his chances once again and this week make them count—someone has to catch the football, right?
Projection: 5 receptions, 86 yards receiving, 1 TD
After getting off to a hot start against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson has struggled to keep his early success going.
While he managed to stay on the field—according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Simpson was targeted eight times last week—the real concern with Simpson is the fact that his catch rate has gone down every week he's played.
Stuck in the middle of a weak pass offense, with Patterson ready to absorb more targets, time could be running out for Simpson to make an impact for this team.
Projection: 3 receptions, 26 yards receiving
After enjoying one heck of a training camp this past summer, slot receiver Jarius Wright can't seem to get anything going this season.
Racking up just four receptions for 56 yards receiving in three games, there's really no reason to believe Wright is going to have a breakout performance anytime soon.
Projection: 2 receptions, 21 yards receiving
Like most of the Vikings wide receivers, it's been a struggle for tight end Kyle Rudolph. Racking up just 10 receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown, although he's off to a slow start, thanks to his size and strength, it's clear that Rudolph still holds tremendous value when he's down in the red zone.
While there's no doubting his natural ability, if no one can get him the ball, Rudolph's numbers should continue to hover right around where they are right now.
On top of those underlying factors, another issue that could put a damper on Rudolph's production this week is the fact that outside of their Week 2 game with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers have managed to do a nice job of shutting down opposing tight ends.
Projection: 4 receptions, 34 yards receiving