Week 1 is only four days away and Adrian Peterson’s status for the opener is still up in the air. The Vikings owe AP a lot of money going forward and he is the face of their franchise. Considering all these factors you would have to believe he will be held out of action in week 1. There is no reason to compromise the future in the first game of a season in which it appears your team does not have the talent to compete in arguably the toughest division in football. So with AP either out or seeing limited touches, this begs the question, how does a team that has relied so heavily on one guy for numerous years now win in his absence?
It starts with his replacement Toby Gerhart. Because Ponder only started 10 games as a rookie you cannot rely on him to carry the team this early in his career. Gerhart has some potential. He is a bruising back as you may know if you ever watched him at Stanford. He looks for contact and through out the course of a game could wear down a defense. Something he does lack is game breaking ability. This is where the Minnesota coaching staff has to step in and come up with something creative to do with speedster Percy Harvin. Assuming Peterson is only out for week 1 it is absolutely possible for this team to beat Jacksonville. The Jags are in a similar situation with their QB and their star RB, although not hurt did not participate in camp because of a contract issue. We have seen in past years that it takes guys a few weeks to get their legs underneath them after missing camp, especially a running back. Hopefully for the Vikings sake MJD does not discover his legs until at least week 2. A key to this week 1 matchup will be pressuring second year QB Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert struggled mightily last season partly because of poor offensive line play. Gabbert showed an inability to deal with the pressure at this point in his young career. Pressure will be of more importance because of the addition of Justin Blackmon. Jacksonville is sure to be looking to hit Blackmon down the field often and early Sunday. With a consistent pass rush Minnesota will deter Jacksonville from using one of their offensive weapons.