Game Day: Colts at Vikings

Today's game between 0-1 Indianapolis and 0-1 Minnesota is shaping up as an early-season "must-win" game. Neither team wants to start 0-2 and face an uphill battle the rest of the season. Get all of ColtPower.com's coverage of the game inside!

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET

SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

SERIES: 22nd meeting. Colts lead series, 13-7-1. The Colts also won the only postseason meeting between the two franchises, taking a 24-14 decision in the NFL Western Conference championship game on Dec. 22, 1968. Indianapolis has won the last two meetings, 31-28 on Nov. 8, 2004 as former Colts PK Mike Vanderjagt booted a 35-yard field goal with 0:02 remaining in the game; and 31-10 on Dec. 24, 2000.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Manning admitted to some rust last Sunday after missing the entire preseason. His timing should be improved this week, but he also needs more help from the running game — which isn't an easy proposition against the Vikings.

The Vikings suffered some assignment breakdowns that led to big plays by Green Bay on Monday, and look for Manning to target CB Charles Gordon and rookie SS Tyrell Johnson downfield.

The Colts know they're going to have to tighten their run defense after getting plowed over for 183 yards by a Bears ground game led by rookie Matt Forte, but the interior of the line is thin with DT Ed Johnson cut after an arrest Wednesday. With QB Tarvaris Jackson continuing to be inconsistent, the Vikings will give the ball to RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor until Indianapolis proves it can stop the run.

When Jackson does drop back, watch LT Artis Hicks (or backup Marcus Johnson) working against Colts DE Dwight Freeney.

KEY INJURIES: Colts: C Jeff Saturday (torn MCL in right knee) is practicing and might play; Clark (knee) could be a game-time decision. Vikings: Artis Hicks (elbow) is uncertain; S Madieu Williams (neck) is expected to miss a few more weeks.

FAST FACTS: Colts WR Marvin Harrison has passed James Lofton for fourth in NFL history with 14,096 career receiving yards ... Peterson has averaged 144.7 rushing yards in three career games against AFC teams.

PERSONNEL NEWS:

Colts:

— C Jeff Saturday (knee) practiced again on Thursday but no decision on his availability for Sunday's game has been announced. Saturday said that he felt fine after Wednesday's workout and had a little soreness in his knee, but that was to be expected.

— DE Dwight Freeney practiced Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's workout to rest old injuries. He will start Sunday against the Vikings.

— WR Roy Hall (knee) has not practiced the last two days. Hall, though, is still expected to play this week at Minnesota.

— CB Kelvin Hayden (hamstring) sat out Thursday's workout after seeing limited practice time on Wednesday. Hayden is still expected to start against the Vikings on Sunday.

— CB Tim Jennings was allowed to sit out Thursday's practice in order to rest old injuries. Jennings should be able to play against Minnesota on Sunday.

— DT Daniel Muir (knee) did not practice on Thursday after seeing limited work on Wednesday. Muir hopes to be available for Sunday's game with the Vikings.

— OG Mike Pollak (knee) has not practiced this week and probably won't be able to play this week at Minnesota.

— S Bob Sanders was given Thursday off in order to rest old injuries. Sanders will be in the starting lineup against the Vikings on Sunday.

— TE Jacob Tamme (ankle) did not practice Friday. It's hoped that Tamme will be available for the Minnesota game on Sunday.

— The Colts waived WR/KR Courtney Roby on Thursday. Roby had made the team's regular-season roster after an impressive showing as a kick returner during training camp.

— Indianapolis claimed RB Justin Forsett on waivers from the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday.

— The Colts added TE Isaac Smolko to the team's practice squad on Thursday. Smolko played with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

Vikings:

— RB Maurice Hicks was limited in practice for the second consecutive day because of a sprained foot that sidelined him for the opener against Green Bay. Hicks said he is feeling better but it remains to be seen if he can return kicks Sunday against Indianapolis.

— QB Tarvaris Jackson remains listed on the injury report because of the sprained medial collateral ligament he suffered in his right knee during the preseason. Jackson, however, has not missed any practice time this week.

— CB Benny Sapp was used as part of a dime defense in the Vikings' opener at Green Bay on Monday night. Sapp was the sixth defensive back, joining nickel back Charles Gordon on the field. In those situations, Sapp and Antoine Winfield played inside. Gordon played the left cornerback spot normally patrolled by Winfield.

— LB Chad Greenway had a team-leading eight tackles in the Vikings' opener against the Packers. Greenway, playing on the strong side, also had a tackle for a loss.

— DT Ellis Wyms primarily replaced NT Pat Williams in nickel situations on Monday.

Click the links below for more of ColtPower.com's coverage!

Childress: I Expect Their Best Shot
Manning: Everybody Needs To Step Up
Dungy: We've Been In Tougher Situations
Dungy: We Just Have To Play Sharper
Mano A Mano: Brackett vs. Tapeh
Scouting the Vikings: Offense
Scouting the Vikings: Defense
Behind Enemy Lines: Part I
Behing Enemy Lines: Part II
Five To Watch: Colts at Vikings

Get more coverage at VikingUpdate.com. Or, talk about the game in our forums!


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