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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (0-0) GAME #1 CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-0)

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Date: 13 September 2009
Location: Cleveland, OH
Time: 12:00 P.M. CST Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium
TV: FOX
DirecTV Ch. 709
Know Thy Enemy: Dawgs By Nature
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 31, Browns 16
Final Score: Vikings 34, Browns 20

Since January 4th, we've waited for this. It's been a long off-season since the playoff loss to the Eagles that ended the 2008 season for the Beloved Purple, but it's a new season full of new life and new excitement. The expectations are high, and now we finally get to see if this group of players is going to be able to meet them. So what are the keys to victory this afternoon for the Vikings?

1) Get Adrian Peterson going early - This one is obvious. As the Vikings' running game goes, so goes the Vikings' offense. Brett Favre is still trying to develop some chemistry with his receiving corps, and the best way to take the pressure off of him would be to pound Peterson and Chester Taylor into the line repeatedly to loosen things up in the passing game. Big Shaun Rogers, who we're familiar with from his days in Detroit, has been listed as questionable with a foot injury, and that can only help the Vikings in the run game, too. The Browns were also 28th in the NFL against the rush in 2008.

2) Get to Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar, or whoever the Browns have at QB - The Browns are not going to beat the Vikings on the ground. Jamal Lewis is currently the only healthy back on the Cleveland roster. . .and, let's face it, Jamal Lewis isn't terribly good any more. Yeah, he was a 1,000-yard rusher last year, but he did it while averaging 3.6 yards/carry. So, it's important that the Vikings stop the Browns' passing game, and that starts with getting to the quarterback. With Jared Allen matched up with All-Everything tackle Joe Thomas, I think that a lot of the Vikings' pressure is going to come up the middle. If the Vikings can get pressure with the front four and blitz occasionally, they should be able to make it a long day for presumptive starter Brady Quinn.

3) Be a hell of a lot better on special teams than they were in 2008 - Cleveland's Josh Cribbs might be the best return man in the NFL, and we all know how abysmal the Vikings' special teams. . .particularly the punt coverage. . .was in 2008. The Vikings can't allow Cribbs to constantly give the Browns the advantage of starting on a short field. If the VIkings can make the Browns put together long, sustained drives, it plays to Minnesota's advantage, in my opinion. Chris Kluwe would be wise to sacrifice some distance for hang time on his punts in this one.

Since I mentioned the injury reports, here they are for each team:


Minnesota Vikings Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jim Kleinsasser hand 09/11/2009

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Bernard Berrian hamstring 09/11/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Erin Henderson calf 09/11/2009


Cleveland Browns Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Steve Heiden knee 09/11/2009
Alex Hall shoulder 09/11/2009

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Bowens knee 09/11/2009
Shaun Rogers foot 09/11/2009
Jerome Harrison knee 09/11/2009
Eric Wright knee 09/11/2009

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cedric Peerman thigh 09/11/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ryan Tucker knee 09/01/2009

On paper, this is a game that Minnesota should win. . .of course, as Vikings fans, we all know how that tends to work out, don't we? Let's just hope that this team goes out there and plays the way they're capable of playing, keeps the turnovers to a minimum, and sticks with the power running game that has been their hallmark during the Brad Childress era. If they do those things, they'll start the season 1-0 and put themselves on the right track in 2009.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!

Poll

What's your prediction for today's game?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Vikings With a Big Win (10+ points)
    (59 votes)
  • 27%
    Vikings In a Close One (1-9 points)
    (24 votes)
  • 1%
    Tie Game (it could happen)
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Browns In a Close One (1-9 points)
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Browns With a Big Win (10+ points)
    (1 vote)
87 votes total Vote Now