5 Minnesota Vikings Players To Keep An Eye On This Sunday
5 Vikings Players To Watch This Weekend
The Minnesota Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, and the Packers have enough holes at the moment to give the Vikings hope of getting a win. The Packers will be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers again, leaving room open for a few Vikings defenders to make a name for themselves in pass coverage this weekend.
There are also some offensive players to keep an eye on for the Vikings this weekend, but none of them are star running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson has been battling a groin strain for a few weeks now, and although he has made his intentions to play be heard he will likely have a reduced role come Sunday.
This leaves the opportunity open for a few offensive players to step up and make an impact against the Packers as well. Christian Ponder has yet to put in two consecutive solid performances this season, but he has shown some promise lately leading me to hope he can succeed throwing the ball from here on out.
Some younger players have rightfully begun getting more playing time lately, and they have flourished in their increased roles. Sharrif Floyd is slowly turning his game around in the right direction, but at the same time veteran Kevin Williams is looking like his younger self, especially in his three sack performance against the Washington Redskins two weeks ago.
The following five players may not all excel on Sunday, but that isn’t the purpose of this list. These are all players that will either be in the position to succeed or have the pressure on them to succeed from fans and coaches.
5. Toby Gerhart
Toby Gerhart is in line for a breakout game as Peterson is expected to see limited carries, meaning Gerhart will see an increased workload a week after rushing for 67 yards on just seven carries. Gerhart is a big, punishing runner who finds his way through the line quite easily and has been used in third down situations throughout his career. He could find himself on the field for at least twice as many snaps as usual (13.2).
4. Cordarrelle Patterson
Cordarrelle Patterson is a must-see on Sundays as he raises your heart rate on almost every kickoff return. Patterson of course will be the main return man for the Vikings on Sunday, but the rookie receiver has started getting more snaps in the pass game and unsurprisingly excelled in that role. With the majority of his catches coming off screen plays, Patterson has still been able to hold a 9.3 yards per catch average. He has a receiving touchdown as well, giving him a total of three touchdowns on the year.
3. Marcus Sherels
The former University of Minnesota defender has been getting sporadic playing time with the Vikings this season, but whether it's on punt returns on playing in the secondary Marcus Sherels is a player to keep an eye on. Although he doesn’t have the physical characteristics of Xavier Rhodes, Sherels made a real difference in the pass game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 and has shown glimpses of play making ability since. Josh Robinson is reported to have a broken sternum and be out for the season, which opens the door for Sherels to not only play more but shine while on the field.
2. Fred Evans
Fred Evans has been the Vikings’ best run stopper all year long, and now that they are facing a Packers team without Rodgers, Evans should have an increased role in stopping the run. The Packers will likely run Eddie Lacy wild come Sunday, but if Evans can be as dominant against the run as he was last week against Marshawn Lynch the Packers' offense could be rendered useless. Evans is No. 90 on the defensive line and has been making a case with his play all season long to get more snaps.
1. Christian Ponder
Although his two interceptions last week don’t prove it, Ponder has actually shown some improvement in his passing ability in recent weeks. There has been more zip on his intermediate throws, which has really allowed him to excel and move the ball down the field. Ponder does, however, need to begin looking to run the ball more given his physical gifts which are rather similar to those of Cam Newton. Ponder must bounce back from his benching during the Seahawks game. Historically he has performed well against the Packers and hopefully will do so again this Sunday.