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NFL Minnesota Vikings

5 Keys To Victory In Week 1 For Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings: 5 Keys To Victory In Week 1

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams
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The Minnesota Vikings, similar to most teams, will play their first regular season game this Sunday. While it is only the first game of the season, many would consider their matchup against the St. Louis Rams to be a must-win game due to a difficult early season schedule. If the Vikings cannot find a way to take down the Rams, it remains a very real possibility that the team could start the season with an 0-6 record.

5. Take Advantage of Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill St. Louis Rams v Cleveland Browns
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5. Take Advantage of Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill St. Louis Rams v Cleveland Browns
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While Hill is a viable backup, he is nothing compared to the quarterbacks the Vikings will face in Weeks 2-6. The Vikings will face Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in consecutive weeks following their matchup with the Rams. It is absolutely critical that they do not let a backup quarterback beat them, as this not only spells trouble for this weekend, but in the future as well.

4. Slow Down Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn Tampa Bay Buccaneers v St. Louis Rams
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4. Slow Down Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn Tampa Bay Buccaneers v St. Louis Rams
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The Rams’ offense is about as lackluster as they come without Sam Bradford at the helm, but their defense is an extremely talented group. Quinn, the anchor of this unit, is one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. His 19 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 2013 were NFL-bests among defensive linemen. Vikings' left tackle Matt Kalil will have his work cut out for him, but he absolutely must keep Quinn’s damage to a minimum.

3. Control Tempo on Offense

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs
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3. Control Tempo on Offense

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs
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While “controlling the tempo” is a rather broad phrase, it is undoubtedly a key to winning any matchup. Efficient first-down rushing attempts, converting on third down and completing passes at a high rate would allow the Vikings to not only wear out the Rams’ formidable defense but also decrease the Rams' number of opportunities on offense. There is simply not enough talent on the Rams’ offense to win without significant help from their defense.

2. Win Turnover Battle

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
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2. Win Turnover Battle

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
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Another key to any matchup, winning the turnover battle has proven to be a significant factor in deciding the outcome of any matchup. From 2009 to 2013, teams that won the turnover battle had a record of 521-278-1, which amounts to a .652 win percentage. If the Vikings can minimize turnovers on offense and force Shaun Hill to make a mistake or two, they should be in great shape to pull out a Week 1 victory.

1. Strong Defensive Line Play

Everson Griffen Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Strong Defensive Line Play

Everson Griffen Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Without Sam Bradford at quarterback, the Rams will likely be forced to run a lot of their offense through running back Zac Stacy. If the Vikings can contain Stacy, the Rams would become far more predictable on offense and Shaun Hill would be forced to pass more often. Forcing Hill, who has not started a game since 2010, to throw the ball more often is a win in itself, but Mike Zimmer would also be able to be more creative with his defense. Yikes.

Robert Reidell is a Featured Blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+