Found October 06, 2012 on
Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Fresh off back-to-back wins, the Minnesota Vikings return home to the Metrodome to face the Tennessee Titans this week, dealing with heightened expectations.Minnesota (3-1) has already matched last season's win total with wins against the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. The Vikings feel they are prepared to handle the success this season."I think we have some veteran guys who know how quickly things can change in our league," coach Leslie Frazier said. "And it doesn't mean that you're going to play 10 years or 11 years or 12 years; you have to seize the moment and they've done a good job of explaining to our young players we have to seize this opportunity. They see the hour glass, this isn't an hour glass, drooling away for some of them and they're doing a good job of bringing the young guys along with them. That helps a lot. I think that will be a part of our, hopefully, continue to mature as a team."Here are five things to watch as Minnesota tries to continue its momentum against the Titans this week:
1. The two highest-paid running backs in the NFL.Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson has avoided any comparisons with Tennessee back Chris Johnson. But the two were linked last year in signing to the two richest deals for a running back in the league. How they've done since signing those deals has been the contrast.Johnson held out during training camp last season and ended up with his worst season in the NFL last year. He's off to an even slower start this season with 186 rushing yards through four games, 144 of which came last week. Peterson was still effective last year, but was slowed by ankle and knee injuries. And then he battled back intensely from knee surgery.Peterson has come back strong in his rehab and is coming off first 100-yard performance of the season. The Titans have the 27t ranked run defense in the league, allowing 136.5 yards-per-game. Johnson, off his big performance against the top-ranked Houston run defense, faces Minnesota's run defense that is tied for seventh in the league, allowing 85.3 yards-per-game.
2. Two special teams players of the monthKick returners Percy Harvin and Darius Reynaud were recently honored as the special teams players of the month in their respected conferences. Both won the award after 105 yard kickoff returns for touchdowns against the Detroit. They own the only two kick returns for touchdowns this season.Harvin's usage on returns has been consistent and he leads the league with a 38.3-yard average on nine returns. He took advantage of the Lions' coverage units by returning the opening kick last week for a score, setting the tone for the game.Reynaud, the former Viking, returns to the Metrodome while establishing himself as a dangerous returner after Tennessee lost returner Marc Mariani to an injury in the preseason. Reynaud has averaged 27.2 yards-per-return on a league-high 15 chances.
3. Can Minnesota's passing offense get going again?Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had led an efficient passing offense the first four games of the season, playing a large role in Minnesota's surprising start. But last week the passing game took a step back as Detroit focused on taking Harvin out of the offense. Ponder finished with just 111 yards on 16 of 26 passing. The Vikings had just 100 net yards passing after two sacks of Ponder. Tight end Kyle Rudolph only had two catches, both coming on one drive in the third quarter. Harvin was held to three catches.Tennessee comes in with one of the league's worst-statistical defenses. The Titans are 31st in yards allowed and have given up a league-high 151 points. The pass defense ranks 27th, allowing 285 yards-per-game.Minnesota has the potential to get Peterson his biggest game of the season, but also can take advantage of Tennessee's defense to develop more rhythm in the passing game with Harvin, Rudolph and get Jerome Simpson involved deep.
4. No matchup between second-year quarterbacks.Ponder has established himself as the unquestioned starter for Minnesota at quarterback, but Jake Locker selected four spots ahead of Ponder in last year's first round of the draft had started his first NFL games this season. But Locker won't play Sunday after dislocating his left, non-throwing shoulder for the second time this season. An interesting matchup between Ponder and Locker, who will likely be linked for their career based on their draft status, will have to wait.Veteran Matt Hasselbeck will start for Locker. The 14-year veteran is steady and will likely try to limit mistakes. He led the Titans to a 7-9 record last year and passed for 3,571 yards. He had 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Hasselbeck is a solid backup, but might not offer the big-play ability, or mobility, of Locker. The Tennessee offense will likely also be missing big-play receiver Kenny Britt, who has been dealing with an ankle injury. He's listed as questionable, but he didn't practice all week.
5. A return of an old friend.If Johnson is going to build on his big rushing game last week, a lot of the responsibility for Tennessee will fall on the offensive line against Minnesota's front seven on defense. In particular, Titans guard Steve Hutchinson will have to deal with Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Letroy Guion along the defensive line.Hutchinson was let go during the offseason after six years in Minnesota, and decided to continue his 12-year career rather than retire. Tennessee's struggled to block for Johnson, who is averaging a career-low 3.2 yards-per-carry. The going could be tough again for the Titans offensive line, blocking a Minnesota defense that has tried to play with a physical edge.
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AROUND THE WEB
MINNEAPOLIS For five weeks, the adjectives and accolades for Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin have been flying in for the league's all-purpose yardage leader the same way he's been flying past defenders this year.
His teammates have been calling Harvin the league's best player, a league MVP for weeks as the extremely versatile and explosive hybrid receiver-running...
During Sunday’s win over the Titans, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson suffered an ankle injury that ended up fighting through and gaining 88 yards on 17 carries.
“The whole game I was fighting through it,” said Peterson, per Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPNRadio.com. “The wrong tackle aggravates it, but I got through it.”
Peterson couldn’t cut when testing out...
The Titans’ defense, through four games, has been nothing short of horrible, ranking last or near last in the major statistical categories — points allowed, total yards allowed, passing yards, and rushing yards. Statistics aside, they can’t seem to defend the middle of the field on a consistent basis, drawing the ire of coordinator Jerry Gray.
Heading into their Week 5 matchup...
Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray wants a more physical defense, regardless of the implications, according to a Tennessean report. Gray told the paper that he's tired of seeing wide receivers run over his team's secondary, and wants his guys playing with reckless abandon, even if it could lead to a fine or an injured opponent. "If you are worrying...
MINNEAPOLIS Commissioner Roger Goodell is in Minnesota to hear the latest on the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, knowing the team is positioning itself for a Super Bowl in the near future.
Goodell was present for Minnesota's home game Sunday afternoon against the Tennessee Titans and took time to meet with fans and reporters. Invited a couple of months ago to meet with area...
The NFL made it perfectly clear how they will respond to any players or coaches who place an emphasis on trying to go out of their way to injure opposing players or who condone that sort of bounty mentality. Just ask the New Orleans Saints. They would now like to make it equally as clear that they will investigate any comment they feel could be construed as any sort of poor motivation...
It it officially time for the league to take notice of the Vikings. After back-to-back wins over powerhouse teams in San Fran and Detroit, Minnesota is not only a surprise of the first quarter of the season – but they might actually have the weapons needed to contend and compete for the duration of the season.
Coming into the season, there were questions aplenty...
Titans Kenny Britt (ankle) is listed as questionable, but not expected to play in Week 5 against Minnesota.Fantasy Spin:Britt didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and his chances of playing Sunday look very slim. Start Nate Washington as you usually would and upgrade Kendall Wright to a WR3 in PPR leagues if Britt sits again.
The Tennessee Titans fear that the injury suffered by Javon Ringer may end his season, which comes as especially bad news after watching Chris Johnson revert back to his old and unproductive self in a 30-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Ringer was once thought of a player who could serve a solid compliment to Johnson in the Titans’ backfield, but he has struggled to remain healthy...
As the Minnesota Vikings cruised to a victory over the Tennessee Titans, Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin made Tennessee's defense look silly on this touchdown reception. Watch as Percy jukes past five Titans defenders for the score: (Courtesy of The Big Lead)
The following fantasy football e-mail chain between Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall took place on October 1 - October 4, 2012. The topic featured was not discussed in advance.
On the Fantasy Pedestal: Chris Johnson
From: Joel Beall
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 1:59 PM
To: 'Ryan Fowler'
Subject: Pedestal Week 5
Though three games is a relatively small sample to extrapolate...
Game Five?! How the hell did this happen already? We're on the fifth game of the season? And the Vikings have a winning record?! That's what really freaks me out. Even if they lose this game they'll still have a winning record! We have so many wins losses don't even matter!! We're so good. ... That's not entirely true, but it should convey my overall...
It is officially week five of the fantasy football season and in this article we are once again focusing on the rankings for this week. These rankings will help you determine which running backs you should play and sit this week and are based off standard scoring with a point per reception.
It has kind of been an up and down season for running backs thus far, with some big...