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Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams: Predicting the Top 5 Performers

Vikings vs. Rams: Predicting the Top 5 Performers

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams
Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings will head south to take on the St. Louis Rams in this Week 1 NFL matchup. Both teams will be looking to start there season 1-0, but only one team will leave with an unblemished record. Without Sam Bradford, it will be all about defense for the Rams this weekend. The Vikings, on the other hand, have been waiting all preseason to uncork their brand new offense.

Here are five players who will excel in this Week 1 matchup.

5. FS Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

5. FS Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Before injuring himself halfway through the 2013 season, Smith was on pace to become the next star safety in the NFL. He has excellent ball skills, and when he collides with a defender the noise resembles a car crash. Do not be surprised if Smith is responsible for a turnover this weekend, as the Rams' offensive chemistry is suspect without Sam Bradford.

4. CB Janoris Jenkins

Janoris Jenkins St. Louis Rams
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4. CB Janoris Jenkins

Janoris Jenkins St. Louis Rams
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jenkins was magnificent in his rookie season with the Rams, but he took a step backwards last season as he had trouble tackling and in coverage. However, he is far too talented to not improve this season. With Norv Turner calling the plays for the Vikings, Matt Cassel will likely be throwing the ball up a couple of times this Sunday, and Jenkins is as good as anyone at coming down with errant passes.

3. CB Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
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3. CB Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Getty Images

Mike Zimmer has been hounding Rhodes all summer, as he believes the young cornerback has the potential to be elite. In his first week of action, Rhodes will likely be responsible for covering Kenny Britt, a wide receiver he matches up very well with in terms of size and athleticism. With Sam Bradford out, Rhodes’ performance this weekend has “shutdown” written all over it.

2. DE Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn St. Louis Rams
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

2. DE Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn St. Louis Rams Copy
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil took a hard step backwards last season and continued to struggle during the preseason this summer. His pass blocking issues in combination with the elite pass rushing ability of Quinn are simply a disaster waiting to happen. Quinn had six sacks in the Rams’ final three games in 2013, and he will likely get off to a good start this season as well.

1. RB Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. RB Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Peterson always plays well in Week 1 of the regular season, regardless of how strong the defensive line of his opponent is. He has averaged 107 yards and 1.5 touchdowns in Week 1 throughout his NFL career, and this year should not prove to be much different. Many believed the Detroit Lions’ potent defensive line would stop him in last year’s Week 1 matchup, but he quickly silenced that with a first-carry, 78-yard touchdown.

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+