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Beware the Trap!



Date: 11 October 2009 Location: St. Louis, MO
Time: 12:000 PM CST Stadium: Edward Jones Dome
DirecTV Ch. 711
Know Thy Enemy: Turf Show Times
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 37, Rams 10
Final Score: Vikings 38, Rams 10

Yes, this is the Game Thread. The table above with the fancy graphics and stuff is always your Game Thread indicator.

I'm usually loathe to pick blowouts in these game. . .particularly since, as we all know, the Vikings are notorious for playing down to the level of their competition. But the trend around the internet has been that the Vikings are going to stomp the Rams this afternoon, and that seems to be the consensus even over at our Rams site, Turf Show Times, so I don't think I'll be outwardly offending too many people with such a prediction at this point. So, what are the keys this afternoon?

1) Do not, do not, do NOT overlook this game - Yes, the Ravens are coming to town next weekend, and the Vikings travel to Pittsburgh and Green Bay after that. The Vikings need to remember that this week's opponent is the Rams. . .not the Ravens, not the Steelers, and not the Packers. As Eric has pointed out, this game has "trap" written all over it, and the Vikings need to avoid that in order to build on the momentum they've gathered to this point in the season. Get by St. Louis first, then worry about Baltimore.

2) Contain Steven Jackson - The St. Louis passing offense has been abysmal this year. How bad? The Rams average 6. . .yes, six. . .points per game. The Vikings, on the other hand, average close to 7.5 points. . .per quarter. The Rams are 30th in the NFL in passing yards/game, and their quarterbacks have put up a combined 67.5 QB rating (5th worst in the NFL). In addition, the Rams' top two receivers, Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton, are both listed as questionable with hamstring injuries, and Ruvell Martin, the former Packer, is listed as doubtful.

In short, Steven Jackson is the St. Louis offense at this point. Jackson's responded about as well as you could expect someone in his situation to respond, as he's currently tied for 4th in the NFL in rushing with 367 yards. Minnesota needs to key on Jackson this afternoon and not allow him to set the tempo on offense for the Rams. Kyle Boller is starting at quarterback for St. Louis. . .and, with all due respect to the Rams and their fans, there's no way a defense like Minnesota's should be getting beaten by Kyle freaking Boller at this point in time.

3) Minimize mistakes - In three of the first four games of this 2009 season, the Vikings have allowed a touchdown on either special teams (Week 1 @ Cleveland, Week 3 vs. San Francisco) or on defense (last week vs. Green Bay). While the Rams' offense has struggled, their defense has been pretty good early on in games, and inevitably gets worn down towards the end because their offensive ineptitude causes the defense to be on the field a lot more than they should be. With the Rams' offensive struggles, the Vikings absolutely, positively do not need to be giving them additional help in the form of points or advantageous field position.

This is a game the Vikings should win. This is a game the Vikings should win in a big way. Will they? Well, we're about to find out. It's about an hour and a half until kickoff, and we hope you'll stay right here and enjoy the game and the conversation with all of us.