Minnesota Vikings-Cleveland Browns: Week One Preview

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Minnesota Vikings-Cleveland Browns: Week One Preview
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The moment we've all been waiting for is finally upon us: offseason workouts, the NFL Draft, training camp, and preseason games are finally over.

Week one brings us a rather unusual matchup between the Vikings and Browns. The two haven't squared off since the 1980s.

Last season, the Browns allowed 151.9 per game rushing alone. Adrian Peterson averaged 110 yards by himself meaning Peterson could have one heck of a game.

While Brady Quinn has been named the Browns starting quarterback, he shouldn't scare the Vikings defense.

Neither Brady or Anderson has completed more than 57 percent of their passes in a season and the two combined have a 45:37 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Protecting Quinn will be Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas. Thomas has proven to be a great starting left tackle, but he may have his hands full with Jared Allen.

The Browns have a solid receiver in Braylon Edwards, but Edwards has yet to make a name for himself in the NFL. His four-year career has been inconsistent. He had a Pro Bowl year in 2007, but didn't do anything the following year to back it up.

Running the ball will be aging back Jamal Lewis. The 30-year-old back will have a tough time against the league's best rushing defense three years running. He's averaged under four yards-per-carry the last four seasons as his career is on a slow decline.

The Browns traded their first-round pick numerous times in the 2009 draft and finally ended up with center Alex Mack. Mack is a talented center who will have his work cut out for him against the best defensive tackle tandem in the NFL, Pro Bowlers Pat and Kevin Williams.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns have very few names.

The Browns feature one of the game's best nose tackles in Shaun Rogers, the 6'4" and 350-pound mammoth formally of the Detroit Lions. Rogers played in a 4-3 with the Lions, but made an amazing transition to the 3-4 nose tackle and put up some fantastic numbers with 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

Rogers will be going against second-year player and former sixth-round pick John Sullivan. Rogers weighs 50 more pounds than Sullivan. That could present some problems for Sullivan who'll be making his first career NFL start.

Behind Rogers you have D'Qwell Jackon who led the NFL in tackles a season ago and looks to finally earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl. He's an undersized inside linebacker, but don't let that fool you. The guy is one of the best tacklers in the game and a very hard hitter.

The Browns have a couple of imports from the Jets via trade this offseason including inside linebacker Eric Barton, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, and safety Abram Elam. All three players are decent and give the Browns an upgrade in their run defense, but it probably won't amount to enough with Peterson and Taylor in the backfield.

The Vikings will get their first look at new quarterback Brett Favre. The former Packer great leads a talented Vikings offense that features running backs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, wide receivers Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin, and a solid offensive line featuring perennial Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson.

The Vikings defense will look to eat up a talent-deficient Browns offense. The Vikings will get a solid look at E.J Henderson who missed nearly all of last season with a pair of dislocated toes. He was the heart and soul of their defense as their captain and MVP.

The suspensions of Pat and Kevin Williams have been recently lifted for the entire season. They won't see any suspensions until opening day of 2010, if ever. That's good news for an already loaded defense.

Neither team has any major injuries to report. Nose tackle Shaun Rogers, cornerback Eric Wright, backup running back Jerome Harrison, and linebacker David Bowens have been limited in practice, but should start on Sunday.

The Vikings currently have only three players listed on the injured list, backup linebacker and special teams player Erin Henderson, wide receiver Bernard Berrian, and tight end Jim Kleinsasser. Henderson won't play, but Berrian and Kleinsasser should each get significant playing time.

This looks to be a blowout as it stands now. The Vikings offense could put up some big numbers as could the Vikings defense.

 

Key Matchups:

Alex Mack vs. Pat and Kevin Williams: Can the rookie man-up against the Williams's?

Shaun Rogers vs. John Sullivan: Will Rogers destroy an inexperienced Sullivan?

Joe Thomas vs. Jared Allen: Can Allen get by Thomas?

Browns Defense vs. Adrian Peterson: Can the Browns stop Peterson?

 

Prediction: Vikings 34, Cleveland 10

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