Week 5: Tennessee Titans At Minnesota Vikings
- QuarterbackThe Titans are going to have to go with backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck because Jake Locker’s left (non-throwing) shoulder won’t allow him to line up. Hasselbeck is clearly one of the most experienced backups and can throw short- and medium-range passes, but he can’t go downfield.Christian Ponder is one of the top stories of the early season as he has stepped in and become a solid leader for the Vikings. Ponder has the size, arm strength and athletic ability to become a star quarterback, but he still makes mistakes and has a long way to go.
- OffenseThe Titans have been waiting for speedy Chris Johnson to play like a star during the first few weeks of the season, and he finally hit it big with a 141-yard effort against the undefeated Texans. If Johnson can continue to run successfully against the Vikings, that will take a lot of pressure off of Hasselbeck.The Vikings were hoping that running back Adrian Peterson would return to solid form following last year’s ACL injury, but he has exceeded expectations. Peterson looks as strong as ever and will wear down a defense with his physical style. Percy Harvin is a big-play wideout who can break a game open.
- DefenseThe Titans are somewhat undisciplined on defense. They like to go for the highlight-film kind of hit and that puts them at risk to missing tackles. That doesn’t work against good teams. Strong safety Jordan Babineaux is one of the most dependable tacklers on the team. He had 12 stops against the Texans.The Vikings are doing a solid job on defense under head coach Leslie Frazier. The Vikings attacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford consistently in Week Four and registered five sacks. Defensive end Jared Allen is once again the dominant pass rusher on the team.
- Special TeamsThe Titans are very confident in placekicker Rod Bironas, who has a strong leg and is very consistent. Punter Brett Kern averaged 46.6 yards on seven punts against the Texans. He has a strong leg and is a good directional punter.The Vikings had the kind of game that special teams coaches dream of in the win over the Lions. Harvin returned the opening kickoff for 105 yards and a touchdown and they added a punt return for a score when Marcus Sherels ran 77 yards in the third quarter.
The Vikings are exceeding expectations because they are keeping mistakes to a minimum and taking advantage of mistakes by their opponents. They are brimming with confidence after their Week Three win over the 49ers and it may be too much to ask the Titans to come into Minnesota and get a win with their aging backup quarterback.