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Why The Vikings Will Win The Opener

If the ultimate clash is an unstoppable force versus an immoveable object, then what would you call an unstoppable force against a very moveable object? I’ll call it Adrian Peterson and the Vikings running game against the Cleveland Browns defense this coming Sunday.

Of late, running teams have had issues against a 3-4 base defense; however, when dissecting this weekend’s matchups, you’ll quickly see that the Browns are grossly outmatched, no matter how they line up, pre-snap. While Shaun Rogers used to be at the same level as Pat Williams, a quick look this morning lists him as probable for this weekend. Considering his play since arriving in Cleveland certainly hasn’t been at his former Pro-Bowl level, he’ll be facing one of the best offensive lines in the game, and Rogers looks to be a non-factor.

Sure, there are other players on the Brown’s defense that might turn in a great performance; however, their Defensive Coordinator has turned in a league-worst performance against the run since assuming the role with Oakland five years ago.

The real telling stat here is this: under Ryan’s guidance, the Raiders have allowed a 100-yard rusher in more than half of their games in the past three years.

Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson alone has accumulated 3,101 yards, 22 touchdowns, 31 20-plus yard plays and an obscene yards per game average of 103.4, including a league record 296 yards against the stout San Diego Chargers defense in 2007. And he did all this in just two years. The team that gains 100 yards on the ground while failing to give up the same wins eighty percent of the time.

The smart money from Cleveland’s perspective would be to stack eight or nine in the box every play and force the Vikings QB to beat them, but unless they were born last night, they’re all too aware who is calling the signals in Minnesota these days. None other than the guy who has his own highlight real against Rob Ryan led defenses.

On the other side of the ball, you have the Cleveland offense, which is woefully outmatched by the Viking defenders. Jamal Lewis and Braylon Edwards are great players, but they simply won’t be enough to match the firepower Childress has on the field.

While the “any given Sunday” rule is always in effect, Vikings fans should feel assured of a victory this Sunday. Mangini will fall prey to the same man that some blame for his failure last season, while Ryan’s debut will become another footnote in Peterson’s inexorable march to the Hall of Fame. I’m not one for score predictions, but I’ll go out on a limb with this one and say the final will be 31-13, Minnesota.

-Mike Bullock

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