Vikings ready for depleted Browns - KMSP-TV

Vikings ready for depleted Browns

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When it comes to the NFL and more notably the Vikings, timing is everything. In clichéd fashion, the season can be defined through two games as close but no cigar. That may change to it's not who you play it's when you play them this weekend against Cleveland.

The Browns starting quarterback Brandon Weeden is out with a sprained thumb and will be replaced by Brian Hoyer who has started one game in his four NFL seasons. Head coach Rob Chudzinski believes Hoyer is "the guy that gives us the best chance to win."

With the third string QB making the start, the obvious thought as two winless teams prepared to battle at Mall of America Field was the running games would be the lead story. That is until the Browns traded 2012 3rd overall pick Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for a first round pick.

"I was shocked," said Jared Allen about the trade. "I'm not going to say I didn't smile about it. This league is crazy. I think we all learned once Peyton left the Colts no one is safe anywhere."

Now the Vikings have a great opportunity to pick up their first win of the season against an offense without a true threat.

Offensive struggles of their own:

The Vikings offense has struggled to find consistency in the first two weeks. Adrian Peterson ran for 78 yards and a touchdown in his first carry of the season and has netted 115 yards on his next 43 carries. The offensive line has been a disappointment after a strong year a season ago and the quarterback has been consistently inconsistent from series to series.

Christian Ponder has thrown four interceptions to just two touchdowns in two games and faces a Browns defense that is top five. They allow under 60 yards per game to opposing running backs which makes the matchup mouthwatering.

Key Matchups:

Jared Allen vs. Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas will battle Jared Allen one on one for the majority of the game. One of the league's elite left tackles doesn't get much help because he doesn't need much.

Adrian Peterson vs. Cleveland Defense

Normally I try to stay away from whole groups vs. a single player, but this is just too good. The last time AP played the Browns, he ran for 180 yards and three touchdowns in 2009.

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