Welcome to Week 2 of Pondermonium. Today’s game with Carolina is being hyped as a showdown of rookie quarterbacks, but the real match-ups to watch are Adrian Peterson vs. the Panthers’ run D and Steve Smith vs. the Vikings’ secondary. Adrian tweaked his ankle late in the Packer game but he is good to go this week. So is Percy Harvin who is toughing it out despite his lingering rib injury. Anthony Herrera is out after hurting his knee last week and will be replaced by Joe Berger. John Sullivan is back after missing a game with a concussion. Defensively, the Vikings will have to get along without Chris Cook who is suspended for at least four games after his arrest, and may have to survive without Antoine Winfield who continues to nurse a neck injury (that according to Winfield is worse than a strain). Jamarca Sanford is back after his concussion.
A week after being torn up by Aaron Rodgers, the Vikings will have to face Cam Newton, who is putting up gaudy numbers as a rookie, largely thanks to receiver Steve Smith who already has 818 yards on the season. I don’t need to remind Viking fans of the big games Smith has put up against us before. Fred Smoot anyone? The Vikings also face the three-headed running attack of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Newton. Last week Minnesota’s run defense was humiliated late by James Starks, who ran for several key first downs on the final drive of the game to secure a Green Bay victory.
Carolina’s offense certainly seems to present a daunting challenge for the embattled Vikings D, but the Vikings offense, with Christian Ponder now leading the charge and Adrian Peterson all revved up, should itself have enough fire power to blow holes in a Carolina defense that is among the worst in the league. This one figures to be a highly entertaining shoot-out.