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Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans Week 1 Preview

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Vikings – Titans Week 1 Preview

The Minnesota Vikings (11-5 last year) open the season visiting the Tennessee Titans (3-13 last year) Sunday at 1:00pm ET. The current line as of the time of this writing is Vikings -2.

On the current “unofficial” depth chart, Shaun Hill is listed ahead of Sam Bradford. However, both quarterbacks are available to the media on Wednesday, the day that the starting QB typically talks to the media.

I believe Shaun Hill will start the game against the Tennessee Titans, with the goal for Bradford to be under center for the home-opener against the Packers.

Shaun Hill and Sam Bradford played together in 2014 on the St. Louis Rams, which is undoubtedly accelerating the acclamation process to the Vikings’ playbook as Hill is able to point out parallels between the two offenses.

The starting quarterback will become clearer as the week goes on, but in the meantime let’s get down to business and compare these two teams, position by position.


The Titans will start second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota, while the Vikings will most likely counter with Shaun Hill. Mariota is young and is a dual-threat to opposing defenses. Hill is old and is equipped with a noodle arm and the speed of an animal with a severe leg wound. Directly comparing these two, I would give the Titans the advantage.

Vikings: 0, Titans: 1

Running Back

The Titans were busy this off-season signing Demarco Murray and drafting Derrick Henry. It remains to be seen how these two rushers, who possess similar skill-sets and running styles, will be used in the Titans backfield. The Minnesota Vikings counter with 2015 rushing champion Adrian Peterson. All Day will be complemented by the young and versatile Jerrick McKinnon on passing downs. The Vikings, having the best running back in the NFL and a more complementary back-up who will provide a change of pace for the Vikings, have the advantage in this category.

Vikings: 1, Titans: 1

Wide Receiver

The Titans top receivers are Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, Kendall Wright, and the over-ripe Andre Johnson. The Vikings counter with Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, and Laquon Treadwell. These two receiving corps are both unproven, but with Diggs‘ breakout year last year, I’m giving the nod to the Vikings here, if only slightly.

Vikings: 2, Titans: 1

Offensive Line

From left to right:

VikingsMatt Kalil, Alex Boone, Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco, Andre Smith

TitansTaylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Chance Warmack, Jack Conklin

Last year, the Vikings had the worst offensive line in the league and had Bridgewater running for his life the majority of the times he dropped back to pass, however with the additions of Alex Boone and Andre Smith, improvement is expected of them this season.

The Titans counter with a young offensive line that hasn’t lived up to it’s expectations at this point, with Chance Warmack and Taylor Lewan still (hopefully) improving.

I would say these two units are about equal.

Vikings: 2, Titans: 1

Defensive Line

The Vikings have one of the best defensive lines in the league. With Everson Griffen coming into camp in the best shape of his life, Brian Robison providing a veteran presence on the other side, and Linval Joseph dominating the line of scrimmage at nose tackle, they have a clear edge in this department.

The Titans counter with an average defensive line hinging on the off-season progress of youthful DaQuan Jones, and looks for Jurrell Casey to build on his stellar 2015 season where he posted 7 sacks.

Vikings: 3, Titans: 1


Vikings – Anthony Barr, Erik Kendricks, Chad Greenway

Titans – Wesley Woodyard, Avery Williamson, Brian Orakpo

Both these units are impressive. Anthony Barr continues to improve after going to the Pro Bowl last year in only his second season in the league. Chad Greenway is tougher than dirt and will be playing his heart out all year in what could be his final season.

On the other side, Woodyard, Williamson, and Orakpo make up an impressively athletic unit that can cover some ground on the field and defend the pass well.

This one is too close to call.

Vikings: 3, Titans: 1


Vikings – Terrence Newman, Anthony Sendejo, Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes

Titans – Parrish Cox, Da’Norris Searcy, Rashad Johnson, Jason McCourty

Harrison Smith is considered by many to be the best safety in the league. Newman isn’t afraid to play bump and run coverage and Xavier Rhodes can match up with bigger receivers.

Opposing this unit Jason McCourty leads an average-at-best secondary.

The purple people eaters emerge victorious in this comparison.

Vikings: 4, Titans: 1


Vikings: 23    Titans: 20

The Vikings are better than the Titans almost across the board, however the Titans do have a better quarterback, and as any fan knows, good quarterback play can go a long way towards a victory. I look for the Vikings to be able to contain Mariota with their athletic linebacking core. It will come down to Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford’s performance for the Vikings to emerge victorious this Sunday in Nashville.