Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/3/12

Jacksonville at Minnesota

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Mall of America Field, Minneapolis - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 710

*TV announcers: Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots

*Keys to the game: Vikings coach Leslie Frazier continues to temper excitement building for Adrian Peterson's return to action for the first time since a Christmas Eve knee injury and said he'll be a game-time decision. Controlling the ball is a stated mantra, and the Vikings need pinpoint passing from QB Christian Ponder as a complement to the smashmouth running game with Peterson and a beefed-up Toby Gerhart. The Jaguars have their own backfield drama with Maurice Jones-Drew ending a 38-day holdout exactly one week before the opener. He'll have enough of a grasp of the playbook to get on the field, but Rashad Jennings figures to take most of the totes behind a good blocking front. Rookie WR Justin Blackmon could emerge as a steady No. 1 receiver, but will need second-year QB Blaine Gabbert to find his rhythm and confidence staring down a Vikings defensive line that produced 39 sacks in 2011.

*Matchup to watch - Jaguars LT Eugene Monroe vs. Vikings DE Jared Allen: Disruptive and relentless, Allen goes full bore for 60 minutes and can be deadly against teams forced into passing situations. It's essential for Monroe and TE Marcedes Lewis to fortify the left side on first down to keep the Jaguars out of unreasonable third down situations. Monroe allowed a career-worst 9.5 sacks in 15 games last season.

*Player spotlight - Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph: Slowed in the preseason by a concussion, the second-year target is under pressure to step up as a secondary receiver option to free up Percy Harvin while Jerome Simpson serves a suspension. Rudolph snagged touchdown passes in three of the final six games last season.

*Fast facts: In 28 career regular-season games entering 2012, Jennings had more than 10 carries just twice. ... Vikings DT Kevin Williams has 54.5 sacks, the most by any NFL defensive tackle since 2003.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

A battle of the backups could break out in Minnesota with Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings projected to take on heavy workloads early in the season. The Jaguars are closer to complete than the Vikings, but if Adrian Peterson plays and looks like his old self, he can be an equalizer.

*Our pick: Jaguars 19-16

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