Tuesday, November 24, 2015

jarius wright

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)

After already playing (and defeating) the Detroit Lions twice, Minnesota will now face another of its conference rivals: Chicago. The Bears have certainly looked to be a less-than-stable team so far this season, and the Vikings defense should be enough to handle Jay Cutler and Co.

It cannot be ignored, however, that Cutler is an unpredictable force and on any given Sunday can be playing at one extreme or the other. The Vikings have also historically struggled at Soldier Field. Since 2000, Minnesota has won just one of the 14 road games against Chicago.

There are plenty of factors to consider about Sunday’s game, so let’s see how the two teams match up offensively.

Offensive Line

Now that it’s been all but guaranteed that John Sullivan will not return to the field in 2015, the Vikings know exactly what they’re working with long term. While it’s incredibly difficult to fill Sullivan’s shoes (or cleats, in this instance), Joe Berger has done an okay job stepping in as a veteran who isn’t naturally a center. Heading into Sunday’s game, the biggest concern might be rookie T.J. Clemmings.

While Clemmings hasn’t done too terrible of a job considering he was tossed into the fire in Phil Loadholt‘s absence, the rookie got demolished against Denver in Week 4 and may face a similar situation going up against linebacker Pernell McPhee. Clemmings looked entirely overwhelmed blocking against the Broncos, and McPhee could give him trouble.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Stefon Diggs is everything the Minnesota Vikings had hoped Cordarrelle Patterson would become, and that’s through just two NFL starts for the rookie wide receiver. The film doesn’t lie, and neither do Diggs’s teammates, who’ve been singing his praises since he joined the team as a fifth-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft:

“He’s one of the [most] polished receivers I ever seen come, you know, as a rookie,” Captain Munnerlyn said. “He runs great routes, great route runner. Some guys it takes time to learn how to run route in the NFL. He already got that. He’s a great receiver, he’s got great speed, great hands, and he goes [to] get the ball.”

“When you look at a guy, you can tell from day one who can play football. I always felt like he could,” Mike Wallace said. “Just the skill set, the way he runs his routes, the energy that he has. It reminds me of him [Antonio Brown].”

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(photo courtesy of vikings.com)
Vikings Injury Report
NamePositionInjuryWed.Thur.Fri. Status
Charles JohnsonWRRibLimitedLimitedLimitedQuestionable
Andrew SendejoSKneeLimitedLimitedLimitedQuestionable
Rhett EllisonTEKnee_______LimitedLimitedProbable
Jabari PriceCBShoulderFullFullFullProbable
Mike WallaceWRKneeDNPLimitedFullProbable
Jarius WrightWRHandFullFullFullProbable

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(photo courtesy of Vikings.com)
Vikings Injury Report
NamePositionInjuryWed.Thur.Fri. Status
Rhodes, XavierCBConcussion/NeckFullFullFullProbable
Cole, AudieLBAnkleLimitedLimitedLimitedQuestionable
Wright, JariusWRHandDNPDNPLimitedQuestionable
Johnson, CharlesWRRibDNPDNPDNPOut
Price, JabariCBShoulder______DNPDNPOut
Sendejo, AndrewSKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Trattou, JustinDEFootDNPDNPDNPOut

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings rebounded off an ugly loss to San Francisco Week 1, and the team now has two wins under its belt. As encouraging as it was to see Minnesota defeat Detroit and San Diego in back-to-back home games, Week 4 offers to be the biggest test yet for the Vikings: playing Peyton Manning and the Broncos on their home turf.

I think it’s safe to say that if the Vikings can beat Denver, they will receive some serious attention.

In case you’re wondering, the Broncos boast an incredible 23-2 home record since signing Manning in 2012. Sunday’s afternoon game will be a challenge, and it will be interesting to see how Mike Zimmer and his squad respond. Let’s take a look at how Minnesota’s offense matches up against Denver.

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