The Minnesota Vikings travel to FedEx Field on Sunday to face Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. Here are 3 bold predictions for this the match up this Sunday.
Rookie QB Robert Griffin III will get shutdown by the Vikings defense
Last week RG III was knocked out of the game with a concussion, and he has been cleared to play this Sunday, but the punishing Minnesota Vikings Defense will be after Griffin all afternoon.
Hard hitting rookie safety Harrison Smith will be certainly be waiting if Griffin tries to break the pocket and run down field and Jared Allen and the rest of the Vikings defensive line will be looking to add to their sack totals against RG III.
The biggest knock on Griffin has been the way that he carries the ball when he evades the pass rush and the Vikings players have the speed to get close enough to knock the ball loose on plays where they can’t get him in their grasp. If Griffin doesn’t protect the ball accordingly the Vikings could force multiple fumbles on Sunday.
It’s no secret that the Vikings are incredibly stout against the run giving up only 78.6 yards per game. Rookie RB Alfred Morris has looked very good so far this season, but he won’t have the running lanes against the Vikings that he has had in past weeks. Look for the Redskins to use a lot of fakes and delays to try and through off the timing of the Vikings line, but don’t expect Chad Greenway and the Purple linebackers to be fooled.
The Redskins spent big money in the off season to bring in free agent receiver Pierre Garcon, but he hasn’t been healthy enough to make a difference so far this season. The Vikings secondary is a vastly improved unit this season, and they will make it difficult for the Skins to get down field in a hurry. They will have to settle for short and intermediate attempts to keep drives alive if they have any hope of winning this game.
Adrian Peterson tears it up on the field where he tore his knee up last year
Last December the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson to a season ending knee shredding against the Redskins and many of the Purple faithful felt that a meaningless late season game not only cost them their number one offensive player, but also cost them a shot at RG III. Instead the Vikings drafted Matt Kalil as their left tackle, and after his intense rehab, Adrian Peterson is back in the saddle and ready to ride against the Redskins.
Peterson has been solid this season, but he has only scored 2 touchdowns, and both of those were in week 1 against the Jaguars. Look for AP to get to the end zone at least once this week, and to run wild against the Redskins as they throw extra bodies at Percy Harvin in an attempt to defense the dreaded bubble screen. The Vikings haven’t had to lean too hard on Peterson yet this season, but the design of the offense has taken enough of the focus away from Peterson that he should have plenty of room to run this week.
The Vikings have been both patient and cautious with Peterson, running him mostly straight ahead, and even though he tweaked his ankle last week, this week look for the Vikings to unleash the beast. Peterson has been quietly pushing for more involvement in the offense, and this week will be the week that he shows that he is still the best running back in the NFL.
Jerome Simpson shows that he is the true deep threat the Vikings have been missing
Jerome Simpson has only played meaningful minutes in one game this season (week 4 against the Lions) after a three game suspension and bi-lateral leg weakness before last weeks game. This week, Simpson is expected to be back on the field, and he will show that Christian Ponder is a complete quarterback with the ability to through down field for big yardage.
The Vikings have not taken a lot of deep shots on offense this season as they have focused on protecting the ball, and controlling the clock, but against a week Redskins pass defense they will look to go deep in order to show their future opponents that they must respect all aspects of the Vikings offense.
Once the Vikings can establish the potential to go deep, teams will have to respect all options on the Vikings offense and things will begin to open up for Ponder. He might even find the big tight end John Sullivan for more than one completion this week as the defense continues to drop players into pass coverage. In fact, final bold prediction is that Sullivan catches a touchdown this week!