A Capsule Look at Sunday's Colts-Vikings Game
COLTS (0-1) vs. VIKINGS (0-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Colts – Tony Dungy, seventh season as Colts Head Coach (73-24, 80-29 including playoffs) and 12th season as NFL Head Coach (127-66, 136-75 including playoffs).
Vikings – Brad Childress, 3rd season as Vikings and NFL Head Coach (14-19).
Colts – 0-1, T-2nd in AFC South.
Vikings – 0-1, T-3rd in NFC North.
LAST TIME IN PLAYOFFS
Colts – 2007.
Vikings – 2004.
2008 NFL RANKINGS
Offense – Overall, T-20th (293.0 yards per game); Rushing, 29th (53.0 ypg); Passing, 7th (240.0 ypg); Defense – Overall, 20th (319.0 yards per game); Rushing, T-28th (183.0 ypg); Passing, 7th (136.0 ypg).
Offense – Overall, 8th (355.0 yards per game); Rushing, 3rd (187.0 ypg); Passing, 20th (168.0 ypg); Defense – Overall, 18th (317.0 yards per game); Rushing, 21st (139.0 ypg); Passing, 16th (278.0 ypg).
Colts – Peyton Manning (30-49 completions, 257 yards, 61.2 pct., 1 TD, 0 INT, 81.8 passer rating).
Vikings – Tarvaris Jackson (16-35 completions, 178 yards, 45.7 pct., 1 TD, 1 INT, 59.0 rating).
Colts – Joseph Addai (12 carries, 44 yards, 0 TD).
Vikings – Adrian Peterson (19 carries, 103 yards, 1 TD); Tarvaris Jackson (9 carries, 65 yards, 0 TD).
Colts – Reggie Wayne (10 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD); Marvin Harrison (8 receptions, 76 yards, 0 TD); Anthony Gonzalez (5 receptions, 48 yards, 0 TD).
Vikings – Garrett Mills (3 receptions, 49 yards, 0 TD); Bernard Berrian (3 receptions, 38 yards, 0 TD).
Colts – Robert Mathis (1), Dwight Freeney (1).
Vikings – None.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
Colts – The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions, lost their regular-season opener, 29-13, to the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. It was the first time since 2004 the Colts had lost their regular-season opener and the first time since 2002 they had lost their home opener. The Bears outrushed the Colts, 183-53, taking a halftime lead and pulling away in the fourth quarter.
Vikings – The Vikings, after an 8-8 season last year, lost their regular-season opener, 24-19, to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings last season won five consecutive games to reach 8-6 and get into playoff contention, then lost their final two games.
QUOTES TO NOTE
"Defensively, they (the Vikings) are much like we are – much like Chicago was. They have two really big tackles that are good players, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. They're going to be a handful. They have the noise and that environment up there. We have to play a lot better than we played last week and that's our plan to go into practice and see if we can get ourselves groomed, get sharpened up and go up there and get ourselves a win."
--- Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy
"We all like to hit the straight run and believe we'll do that, but I know that (Indianapolis) is a very, very prideful defense and built for speed. I'd expect we're going to get their best shot. They have obviously some premier pass rushers that play the run very well, they have a fast linebacking corps and there's probably not any better player in the game than (safety) Bob Sanders."
--- Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress
The Vikings, despite a season-opening loss in Green Bay, are expected to contend for the NFC North title, and are widely considered one of the NFL's most-talented teams, with second-year running back Adrian Peterson considered one of the league's top young talents.
"He has amazing speed," Colts President Bill Polian said of Peterson this week. "He's big and shifty. He can bounce, which makes him much, much more dangerous than (Chicago Bears running back Matt) Forte was. You know where he (Forte) is. He's going downhill. There's going to be a collision when he gets there, but you know where he's going.
"Peterson can bounce. He can shake and bake. He can make you miss. He's really a complete back and he's a great pass receiver. You match him up on a linebacker and it's all over.
"He's an incredible weapon."
Peterson rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the Vikings' loss to Green Bay Monday, a loss that left the Vikings a game behind the Bears and Packers after a week.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, a third-year veteran from Alabama State, emerged as the Vikings' starter last season, completing 171 of 294 passes for 1,911 yards and nine touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He had a touchdown pass against Green Bay and was intercepted on the Vikings' final drive to clinch the Packers victory.
The Vikings were heavily involved in the free-agent market this offseason, signing wide receiver Bernard Berrian – the Chicago Bears' leading receiver – as well as safety Madieu Williams from Cincinnati.
The Vikings last season also featured not only one of the NFL's best offensive lines, but a solid interior defense featuring Pro Bowl tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams that helped the team lead the NFL in rushing defense.
The Vikings, coordinated by former Colts defensive assistant Leslie Frazier (2005-2006), finished 20th in the NFL in total defense a year ago, then acquired defensive end Jared Allen in a trade from Kansas City. Allen led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 last season and has 43 in four seasons.
"He joined the Vikings via trade and made them a much better football team," Polian said. "Leslie (Frazier) was looking very hard to get some pass rush. He got it, and you add that to an already pretty good front four and they're a pretty formidable operation."
Three key head-to-heads . . .
• Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett versus Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Not a true one-on-one matchup, but how the Colts fare against Peterson will be key Sunday. Indianapolis allowed the Chicago Bears 183 yards in the regular-season opener, and rookie running back Matt Forte rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. That allowed the Bears to be in positive situations on second and third downs, and Chicago converted 10 of 16 in that situation. Peterson is one of the NFL's top players at his position, having rushed for 103 yards against Green Bay this past week. As a rookie last season, Peterson set the league's single-game rushing record when he rushed for 296 yards on 30 carries in a victory over San Diego.
• Colts left tackle offensive Tony Ugoh versus Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. While with the Kansas City Chiefs last season, Allen led the NFL with 15.5 sacks, making the Pro Bowl and being named first-team Associated Press All-Pro. Against the Packers on Monday, Allen forced left tackle Chad Clifton into two holding penalties and had a pass deflection, but he was not credited with a tackle and said afterward, "This is one of the least productive games I've had in my life. I'm not going to let that happen again." Ugoh started 11 games as a rookie last season and started the season opener Sunday.
• Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney versus Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie. Freeney missed the last seven games of last season with a foot injury and played just one preseason game, but he said this week he liked how he felt in the opener against Chicago. He had a sack and several first-half pressures, and Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said had Indianapolis been ahead in the second half and forcing Chicago to throw, Freeney likely would have had a big night. McKinnie long has been one of the NFL's most consistent players at his position, starting 16 games each of the last five seasons.
VIKINGS IN REVIEW
The Vikings, selected by many analysts to challenge for a playoff spot after a three-year absence from the postseason, lost their regular-season opener, 24-19, to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings committed just one turnover, but it came when quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw an interception on the Vikings' final possession at the Packers 39 with just under a minute remaining.
The Vikings are the NFL's third-ranked run offense. Part of that is because of the presence of second-year running back Adrian Peterson, but part of that is because under Childress, the franchise has been committed to the run. Since his 2006 arrival as head coach, the Vikings are the NFL's fourth-most productive running offense behind Jacksonville, Atlanta and San Diego. Over that span, their 4.8-yards-per carry average is second in the NFL to Atlanta. The Colts, after ranking 32nd in the NFL against the run in 2006, ranked 15th in the area last season. After allowing 183 yards rushing in the season opener, Indianapolis is ranked in a tie for 28th against the run.
The Colts and Vikings have played 21 times, with the Colts leading the series, 13-7-1. The Colts also won the only postseason meeting between the teams, beating Minnesota 24-14 in the 1968 Western Conference Championship. The Colts have not played in the Metrodome since 2001, when they lost a preseason game to the Vikings, 28-21. Their last regular-season appearance in Minnesota came on December 21, 1997, when the Vikings beat the Colts, 39-28. The teams met annually from 1961-1966 and once a season from 1967-1969. They have played just six times since the 1970 NFL Merger, with the last meeting coming in November of 2004.
On November 8, 2004, the Colts beat the Vikings, 31-28, in a memorable last-minute victory at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The Colts led 14-0, 21-14 and 28-21, then drove for a 35-yard field goal by then-kicker Mike Vanderjagt with :02 remaining. Quarterback Peyton Manning completed 23 of 29 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns and then-tight end Marcus Pollard caught two touchdown passes with tight end Dallas Clark and wide receiver Reggie Wayne each also catching a touchdown pass. The game moved the Colts into a first-place tie in the AFC South, and until losing the season-opener to Chicago this past Sunday, they had not been out of first place in the division since.