Considering the bulk of the Vikings' carries will be handled by their rookie fourth-string running back (Mewelde Moore) and a young fifth-string running back who is known as a fumbler (Larry Ned), look for the Vikings to put the game in the hands of QB Daunte Culpepper.
Why wouldn't they? After all, Culpepper leads the NFL in passer rating (124.8), is completing 73 percent of his passes and has one interception and eight TD passes. And even though the Texans rank 25th against the run, their 12th-ranked pass defense might be even more suspect. Houston has allowed eight touchdown passes on 77 attempts.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
TEXANS GAME PLAN
Keeping the Vikings' high-powered offense off the field is priority No. 1 for the Texans. That means the Texans offense must come close to duplicating last week's effort against Oakland, when they ran nearly eight minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter and finished with team record 30 points.
The Texans are cautious not to try and get into a shootout with the Vikings, but there should be some chances to get on the scoreboard with the return of running back Domanick Davis and the big-play potential of wide receiver Andre Johnson against a mediocre Minnesota defense. The Texans can expect the Vikings to convert some big plays. They just have to minimize the damage.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Texans secondary vs. Vikings WR Randy Moss: The Vikings are a quick-strike team with wide receiver Randy Moss one of the league's top game breakers. Few opposing defenses throw to Glenn's side, which means Robinson can again expect quarterback Daunte Culpepper to throw his way. Robinson had two interceptions last week against the Raiders and has steadily improved the past three weeks since a rough debut. The Texans tend to play more zone coverage against strong passing teams, which should allow Robinson some help so he is not continually left in single-coverage. Backup cornerback Demarcus Faggins, who has emerged as one of the team's best shutdown corners, could play a huge role similar to last year's season finale when he kept the Colts' Marvin Harrison in check during the first half.
Texans QB David Carr vs. Vikings pass defense: Carr is on pace for more than 4,000 yards this season and his performance has been instrumental in the team's first two-game winning streak. Carr has learned to use the weapons around him, and offensive coordinator Chris Palmer appears to have given him some flexibility to go deep in the passing game. The Texans tend to be one-dimensional at times with running back Domanick Davis, but there's little doubt their success lies with wide receiver Andre Johnson, a scoring threat every time he touches the ball. Minnesota ranks 30th in pass defense and is allowing 272 yards per game. After finishing second in the league with 28 interceptions last season, the Vikings do not have a pick through three games.