The Vikings and Jaguars released their final injury reports of the first week of the season today, a requirement of teams who have Sunday games. Here are the details…
RB Adrian Peterson (knee) is listed as questionable, and Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said he’d be a game-time decision.
S Robert Blanton, TE John Carlson (knee), DT Letroy Guion (knee), OL Geoff Schwartz (abdomen) and CB Marcus Sherels (ankle) are listed as probable.
LB Marvin Mitchell (ankle), S Andrew Sendejo (ankle) and WR Jarius Wright (ankle) are listed as out.
DE Austen Lane (foot), DE George Selvie (knee) and LB Daryl Smith (abdomen) are listed as out. Lane and Selvie are reserves, so there absence means the Jaguars could slide DTs Tyson Alualu and D’Anthony Smith outside to play DE at some points in the game. Smith is a starting outside LB, and it’s likely that Kyle Bosworth will get the start.
CB Derek Cox (hamstring) was listed as doubtful. He’s a starter, so expect Will Middleton to get the start at CB along with Aaron Ross. Rashean Mathis will be the Jaguars nickel CB. Also, CB Mike Harris (hamstring) is questionable.
WR Justin Blackmon (ankle), C Brad Meester (not injury-related), DE Aaron Morgan (not injury-related) and G Uche Nwaneri (ankle) are listed as probable.
Finally, expect RB Maurice Jones-Drew to play.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Andrew Sendejo, Geoff Schwartz, Jarius Wright, John Carlson, Leslie Frazier, Letroy Guion, Marcus Sherels, Marvin Mitchell, Robert Blanton
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The Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t have the kind of season they were hoping for in 2011. They finished with a 5-11 record, which placed them 3rd in the AFC South behind the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. They’ll look to turn their fortunes around right away in 2012 with a Week 1 contest against the Vikings at Mall of America Field.
If the Jaguars are to reverse their fortunes and become a factor in their division, a big reason for the turnaround will be the performance of their defense. While last season featured plenty of struggles for the Jaguars, an area of their team that did not struggle was the defense. Jacksonville’s defense ranked 6th in total yards allowed, 8th in passing yards allowed and 9th in rushing yards allowed.
Key to the Jaguars defensive success is their stout front seven. The Jaguars four defensive linemen and three linebackers are the subject of today’s A Closer Look…
– Mel Tucker is the Jaguars Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, and Tucker knows defense. He’s been an assistant under Nick Saban at both Michigan State and LSU and under Jim Tressel at Ohio State. On top of that, Tucker has been coaching in the NFL since 2005 and was actually named the Jaguars interim head coach last season when Jack Del Rio was fired. This season, Tucker appears to have put together a solid front seven in his 4-3 defensive scheme.
– The Jaguars will start Jeremy Mincey at left DE and Andre Branch at right DE. Mincey is a 5-year veteran and a gamer who is sound against both the run and pass. Branch was the Jaguars 2nd-round pick this past April after a productive career at Clemson. He registered 10.5 sacks for Clemson last season and is the better pass rusher of the Jaguars starting DE tandem. Don’t be surprised to see the Jaguars move Branch around their formation, specifically putting him on the left side of the defense on some 3rd downs. Behind the starters, the Jaguars have Austen Lane and George Selvie, both of whom are listed as left DE and both of whom may not play this week due to injury. Behind Branch the Jaguars have Aaron Morgan, who had 2.5 sacks this preseason.
– At DT, the Jaguars boast former 1st-round pick Tyson Alualu, a versatile defender whom the team could slide out to left DE should their backup ends be unable to play. Alualu was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and is a player the Vikings must contain if they want to be productive on offense. Lining up next to Alualu is C.J. Mosley, a former Vikings draft pick who joined the Jaguars in October of 2010 after stops with the NY Jets and Cleveland Browns following his stint with the Vikings. If the Jaguars slide either Alualu or Mosley outside to play DE, D’Anthony Smith and Terrance Knighton are the backups who will see action.
– The Jaguars have a good middle LB in Paul Posluszny. He was a 2-time All-American at Penn State and was selected in the 2nd round by the Buffalo Bills. After an injury-riddled rookie season, Posluszny has been a productive player, registering 4 straight 100-tackle seasons. He’s smart, tough and athletic, and is a big reason why the Jaguars defense is as tough as it is.
– On either side of Posluszny, the Jaguars have Daryl Smith and Russell Allen playing outside LB. Smith is a 9-year veteran who has spent his entire career in Jacksonville. Allen is a former undrafted rookie out of San Diego State and has not missed a game in his 3 NFL seasons. He’s been a productive player for the Jaguars special teams groups and now he’ll have a more prominent role on the defense. Smith is a bigger LB listed at 6-2, 248 pounds, while Allen is leaner at 6-3, 238 pounds.
– In total, the Jaguars have a hard-nosed front seven that will challenge the Vikings offensive line. With the NFL’s best one-two punch at RB, the Vikings will certainly look to establish the run in Sunday’s game, especially with Jerome Simpson out of action. That will be a challenge against this Jaguars defensive front, but it’s a challenge the Vikings will approach head-on with confidence.
“They have a great defense and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us as an offense and to see where we’re at for game one,” Vikings QB Christian Ponder said. “It’s a starting point for us this season to set the tone and to reach the goals that we have.”
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Because the Vikings play in the NFC and because 12 of the Vikings 16 opponents each season are also NFC teams, we get accustomed to FOX broadcasting Vikings games during the regular season (FOX has broadcast rights for the NFC). That will again be the case in 2012, as 13 of the Vikings 16 regular season games will be televised by FOX.
But one of those 3 non-FOX televised games will actually be this weekend’s season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. CBS (they have AFC broadcasting rights) will broadcast Sunday’s game, so when you flip on the television Sunday morning to find the game, be sure to find the CBS channel.
Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties and former Vikings defensive back Solomon Wilcots will provide the analysis. Drea Avent will be the sideline reporter.
You can also catch the game on the Vikings Radio Network – KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130 locally. Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will call the action from the booth and Greg Coleman will handle sideline reporting duties. The Vikings Radio Network pregame show, with Mike Mussman as host, begins at 10:00 a.m. CT.
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