A.P. vs. C.J., Round One

The battles between can't-miss rookie stars Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson are expected to extend for years. They have the first meeting today with one of them likely to get a big advantage in the early stage of the Rookie of the Year race.

While the matchup between the Vikings and Lions is going to be for first place in the NFC North, the matchup that is likely to draw the most attention will be one that includes two players that won't be on the field at the same time.

This matchup has almost five months in the making. In late April, it was almost universally agreed that JaMarcus Russell would be the first pick of the 2007 draft. But, with most quarterbacks, it was believed that he wouldn't make an immediate impact on the game. Typically with quarterbacks, you don't get a handle on what they can or can't accomplish until they are in their second or third season.

The same can't be said for the anticipated battle between Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson. Johnson, the second overall pick in the draft, is the most hyped can't-miss wide receiver prospect since Randy Moss and just about any scout who has seen him has stated that he's going to a be regular at the Pro Bowl for years to come. Peterson, the seventh overall selection, was clearly the plum of the RB class of 2007 and if not for injuries that sidelined him last year, he could have gone as high as No. 3 in the draft.

Both are viewed as the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year and did little to dissuade that opinion in Week 1. Peterson ran 19 times for 103 yards and caught a 60-yard touchdown pass. Johnson had four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in the Lions' win over the Raiders in the season opener.

Each player is going to be on display today as their respective teams look to get off to a 2-0 start to the season. Whichever team wins, expect to see its rookie star take a big step forward today. The battle for Rookie of the Year is on and the player who has the upper hand in this matchup will like have a leg up early in winning the award.

* The Vikings are looking to start the season 2-0 for the second straight year, while the Lions are looking to achieve that feat for just the second time since 2000.
* Guard Ryan Cook is going to be in for a potentially long day. DeWayne White of the Lions was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 1 when the Lions beat the Raiders.
* While the Lions are being touted for their passing offense, running back Tatum Bell averaged almost six yards a carry in the team's Week 1 opener.
* After this week, the Vikings will have a noon Central Time start for the next 10 consecutive games.
* Starting with today's game, the Vikings will play four of their next five games on the road.
* After the bye week, the Vikings will play their next four games against teams that made the playoffs last season.

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