The Minnesota Vikings travel to MetLife Stadium for Monday Night Football in Week 7, and though there is plenty of time between now and then to assess the match-up, there is one thing we can say with absolute certainty.
Adrian Peterson, it is time to meet your maker. It is rare that this positively superhuman running back pays homage to one of his opposing defenders, so when he does it is certainly worth taking note. After the reigning NFL MVP cited Shaun Rogers in the offseason when asked which defender hits the hardest, it was always going to become newsworthy when the Vikings were pitted against Rogers’ latest team, the New York Giants, on the regular season schedule.
Although currently ranked 4th in total rushing yards, Peterson has been a little off-the-pace set by his own impeccable standards over the last few seasons. The Vikings’ rushing offense is only 13th-best in the league through six weeks (albeit having already had their bye) but most notably Peterson has more fumbles (3) than any other running back in the top 10 and just one fewer than his total for the whole of last season in just five games of 2013.
Peterson’s latest personal struggles have been well documented, though his ability to suit up against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6 outlines his determination to move forward. He produced his least effective outing of the season against the rampant Cam Newton-inspired Panthers, though he will be targeting improvement in a Week 7 outing against opposition that only hold up 26th against the run this season.
This isn’t Shaun Rogers’ first rodeo. Entering his 13th season in the NFL, he would have been under no illusions that he was to be a bit-part piece of the Giants defensive line after missing the entire 2012 season to injury. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle currently finds himself behind Linval Joseph in the pecking order and has only started two games this season, but with the Giants carrying the league’s current most penetrable defense, a change is very much in order.
Both teams find themselves in the precarious positions of propping up their respective divisions in the NFC. The Giants are waving the white flag at 0-6 in the East whilst the Vikings are already three games off the pace in the North — a void which is seemingly unassailable in this notoriously competitive division.
So in essence, with two teams going nowhere fast having been assigned the primetime slot for Week 7, this game is in serious need of an angle. What better way to find one than to pit Adrian Peterson up against the man he singled out as the hardest hitter in the NFL during the summer?
Although I can’t imagine Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin will allow this to sway his decision in any way, we beg of you Tom for the sake of our Monday Night footballing sanity– let the battle commence.