The Vikings have one of the top two running backs in the league, Adrian Peterson. They have a soon to be 41 year old quarterback with a 2 to 6 touchdown to interception ratio this year. We have spent a lot of time discussing the Jets facing Minnesota's passing game. It is time to focus a bit on what the Vikings do best, though, run the ball. Peterson has 392 yards in 3 games and a 5.6 average per carry.
Our friends at Football Outsiders tell us Minnesota runs it up the middle on just a shade under half of its rushes. That means the center-nose tackle matchup will be critical. The Outsiders say the blocking the team does creates 4.65 yards per carry, in the NFL's top ten.
The Jets are only giving up 3.2 yards per carry. That is in no small measure due to the job Sione Pouha is doing on the nose. Pouha is consistently controlling the point of attack. His opponent, John Sullivan, is nursing a calf injury. He missed much of the Week 3 contest with Detroit and has either missed or been limited at practice this week. If Sullivan does not play, Ryan Cook will start. Either that or Sullivan playing hurt would be an edge for Pouha and the Jets. Sione would have a great chance at drawing consistent doubles to keep Bart Scott and David Harris clean. That's a tough task for a run game.
It would not guarantee success because Peterson is as good as anybody at making something out of nothing (a topic for a different post), but it would make success a lot more probable.