The Minnesota Vikings begin the 2012 season Sunday, September 9 at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Christian Ponder begins his first full season as the Vikings’ starting quarterback, playing behind a revamped offensive line that features #4 overall draft pick Matt Kalil at left tackle. In the offseason the Vikings signed former Bengal Jerome Simpson to be their new deep threat receiver but Simpson will miss the first three games with a suspension. The Vikings may also be without #1 running back Adrian Peterson who will be a game-time decision as he works his way back from major knee surgery. Look for Peterson to see limited action even if he does play, with the bulk of the carries going to Toby Gerhart.
Percy Harvin is the Vikings’ one real receiving threat with Simpson out, though Kyle Rudolph could soon also establish himself as a true weapon at tight end. Harvin will once again run back kicks this season, giving the Vikings quick strike capability in the return game. Defensively, the Vikings lean heavily on a defensive line featuring Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Brian Robison. The linebacker corps is led by Chad Greenway and the secondary by veteran Antoine Winfield. Rookies Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson will see heavy action in the defensive backfield. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and nose tackle Letroy Guion are major question marks as starters.
Like the Vikings, the Jaguars are hoping to re-establish themselves after a disappointing 2011 campaign. Second-year QB Blaine Gabbert is in much the same boat as Christian Ponder, trying to silence the doubters while developing his game. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew should play this week for Jacksonville though it remains to be seen whether he’ll be the featured back or the third-down back. Rookie receiver Justin Blackmon figures to quickly become a key weapon for the Jags. New head coach Mike Mularkey is trying to change the culture in Jacksonville, and an opening week win would go a long way toward doing just that.
Injury report: The Vikings list Andrew Sendejo, Jarius Wright and Marvin Mitchell as out. Adrian Peterson is questionable. For the Jaguars, linebacker Daryl Smith is out. Cornerback Derek Cox is doubtful. CB Mike Harris is questionable.
Kick-off is 12 PM CT
The game will be televised locally on CBS WCCO-4 and on DirecTV channel 710.
The game will be broadcast on radio on KFAN 100.3 and across the Vikings radio network. Full list.
The game will be available on Sirius radio channel 117.
Topics: Minnesota Vikings