Either the Browns or the Vikings will come away with their first win of 2013 on Sunday. With the announcement that the Browns will start third string quarterback Brian Hoyer and the recent trade of Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, all expectations are the Vikings should not only win, but blow out the woeful Cleveland team at home.
Those that know their Vikings history will be quick to point out that a backup quarterback cannot be underestimated, and speed demon Josh Gordon will return from suspension just in time to play against us, but much of the conversation on Sunday will certainly revolve around the running games of each team.
The Browns shocked everyone by dealing Richardson for the Colts’ first round pick in 2014 and have signed veteran Willis McGahee to take his place. McGahee was on the street after a knee injury prematurely ended his 2012 season in Denver and led to his eventual release. The Browns just added McGahee on Thursday, so he will have little time to integrate himself, and the Browns may have to rely on reserves Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey to shoulder a majority of the work against Minnesota.
Behind a talented offensive line that has been underachieving this season the Browns rushing attack certainly gives Vikings fans a reason to expect dominance from the front seven on Sunday. If this were a game of Madden, which it obviously isn’t, the talent ratings involved in this matchup would be overwhelmingly in the Vikings favor.
On the flip side, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings rushing attack have been underwhelming relative to expectations, and they face a run defense that has proven to be quite solid. So far this season Peterson has a respectable 193 yards on 44 carries for a 4.4 yard average per carry, but he has averaged a frustratingly low 2.7 yards after his opening carry went for a 78 yard touchdown. Peterson knows these types of days are not meeting expectations, including his own, and vows to change things this week against the Browns.
“I was worried about the things that I left out there on the field and how much better I could’ve performed,” Peterson told Access Vikings regarding last Sunday’s game.
“[Sunday’s game] is just another reminder,” he said. “You can kind of get out of whack at times, and you’ve got to be able to evaluate yourself and see how you can improve and get back on track. So it’ll be a pretty easy adjustment for me.”
Peterson seems to think getting more physical with defenders, despite the “crown rule” looming this season, is the best way to spark something within this rushing offense.
“Really trying to strike those guys instead of running away from color as much as I did,” he said. “I will be changing that this week.”
If he follows up his words with action, which he usually does, then #28 could be lighting it up this Sunday at the Metrodome.