With both teams desperate for a win, here are five predictions for the Vikings clash with the Steelers.
1. Adrian Peterson rushes for over 150 yards
The Vikings, as well as Peterson, will be glad to see Jerome Felton in the backfield blocking. Felton was suspended the first three games of the regular season due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Last season, Peterson averaged 6.9 yards per carry with the Pro Bowl fullback blocking, compared to only 4.6 yards without him. Peterson is due for a big game and there is no reason he can't put up his first monstrous game of the season against a Steelers defense that has allowed 115.3 rushing yards per game.
2. Jared Allen records a multi-sack game
The Vikings' defensive line has started off slow to say the least. In the first three games of the season, the defensive line has recorded only two sacks - one by Brian Robison and one by Jared Allen. With the Steelers' make-shift offensive line, the Vikings defense should get plenty of pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, who is prone to holding onto the ball to extend plays. If the Vikings can get the Steelers into obvious passing situations, Jared Allen and the rest of the defensive line should get plenty of opportunities for sacks.
3. Wide receiver will catch a touchdown pass
The Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars are the only two teams that are yet to have a receiver catch a touchdown. That needs to change this week. The Steelers defense is stingy against the pass, giving up only two receiving touchdowns all year. But if Peterson can draw extra attention with the return of Felton, it should free up a receiver downfield. Oh, and it looks like Matt Cassel might get a shot at quarterback this week with Ponder battling through a rib injury.
4. Vikings hold Steelers under 50 rushing yards
The Steelers are currently averaging only 3.0 yards per rush. Conversely, the Vikings defense is giving up 4.4 yards per carry. The Steelers will have an additional weapon in the backfield as rookie Le'Veon Bell is expected to make his debut against the Vikings, but that shouldn't be much of a worry for the Vikings.
5. Vikings force 3 turnovers
The Pittsburgh Steelers rank dead last in the AFC in takeaway/giveaway deferential. Big Ben and the Steelers offense has committed 9 turnovers (4 interceptions and 5 fumbles) through the first three games of the regular season. The Vikings defense, on the other hand, has forced 10 turnovers in the first three weeks of the regular season and trail only the Chicago Bears in that category.
Dennis Parsons is a Minnesota-area sportswriter covering the Minnesota Vikings for Vikings Central. He previously covered all Minnesota professional sports teams for Minnesota Sports News Nightly . You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @Parsons_VC.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Minnesota Vikings
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Adrian Peterson
- Jared Allen
- Jerome Felton