Jaguars vs Vikings: Game Preview I

Jacksonville's slim playoff hopes were derailed a week ago by the undefeated Tennessee Titans, who scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Jaguars. Minnesota lost a tough 19-13 game in Tampa Bay.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, November 23, 2008, 1:00 pm EST
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium

Minnesota 5-5, Jacksonville 4-6

Series history: Vikings lead, 2-1.

Minnesota offense 15th overall (23rd passing, 4th rushing); Scoring- 16th – 22.3 ppg. vs. Jacksonville defense 18th overall (18th passing, 20th rushing); Scoring- 13th- 21.0 ppg.

The Vikings are all about running the football, and they have the best in the business to hand the ball to in running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson has 1100 yards rushing with seven touchdowns, and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Peterson has the ability to run over defenders or around them.

Minnesota starts veteran Gus Frerotte at quarterback, who has been an NFL journeyman. Frerotte is not much more than serviceable, and he is keeping the proverbial seat warm for former second-round pick Tavaris Jackson, who was the opening day starter, then was benched after he struggled to start the season. Frerotte has completed 58.1% of his passes this season for 1757 yards, with 11 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Frerotte has a quarterback rating of 76.6.

Frerotte's favorite target has been wide receiver Bobby Wade, who has 38 receptions for 399 yards. The Vikings most productive wideout has been free agent acquisition Bernard Berrian, who has caught 33 balls for 667 yards and four touchdowns. Some of the other receivers that could give the underachieving Jaguars secondary fits are Sidney Rice, Aundrae Allison, running back Chester Taylor, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

Best offensive matchup for Minnesota:
Vikings offensive line vs. Jaguars defensive line- The Vikings are a physical run first team with a dynamic running back. The Jags have struggled and been dominated at the line of scrimmage.

Best defensive matchup for Jacksonville:
Rashean Mathis vs. Bernard Berrian- The Jaguars best corner has a distinct advantage against the Vikings best wide receiver.

Jacksonville offense 23rd overall (21st passing, 11th rushing); Scoring- 22nd 21.2 ppg. vs. Minnesota defense 10th overall (21st passing, 2nd rushing); Scoring- 22nd – 23.4 ppg.

The Vikings defense stops the run first and foremost with mammoth defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams. Their big offseason acquisition was defensive end Jared Allen, who is among the best in the game at putting heat on opposing quarterbacks.

Linebacker Chad Greenway has been a nice surprise for the Vikings as he leads the team with 82 tackles. Ben Leber has also done a nice job on the outside.

Cornerback Antoine Winfield is a big play corner who can match up with any receiver. Cedric Griffin has been great in run support and safeties Daren Sharper and Madieu Williams are amongst the best duo in the game.

Best offensive matchup for Jacksonville: Marcedes Lewis vs. Ben Leber- Lewis has a size advantage over Leber and should be able to exploit that if Garrard can get him the ball.

Best defensive matchup for Minnesota: Jared Allen vs. Khalif Barnes- Allen has given Barnes fits ever since his days with the Chiefs and the powerful, fast rusher routinely makes offensive tackles look bad.

Special Teams

Minnesota: PK Ryan Longwell, P Chris Kluwe, LS Cullen Loeffler, PR/KOR Bobby Wade

PK Josh Scobee, P Adam Podlesh, LS Joe Zelenka, KOR Brian Witherspoon, PR Brian Witherspoon

Special teams advantage: The Jaguars have a much better coverage unit, and the more dangerous return men. Special teams seems to tilt in the Jaguars favor.

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