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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 1
September 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYJ at WAS DEN at CIN MIN at GB ATL at DAL OAK at TEN
Sun 1 PM HOU at MIA NE at BUF CHI at SF Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET IND at CLE SD at KC NO at SEA TB at PHI
BAL at PIT JAX at CAR STL at NYG Times EST no byes
   
Minnesota vs Green Bay Sun, Sep 7; 1 PM on FOX at Lambeau Field
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 30,1 0 220,1
RB Onterrio Smith 60 10 0
RB Moe Williams 40,1 20 0
TE J. Kleinsasser 0 20 0
WR Randy Moss 0 80,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
WR D'Wayne Bates 0 40 0
  Green Bay Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 230,2
RB Ahman Green 80,1 30 0
RB Najeh Davenport 20 0 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20 0
WR Javon Walker 0 20 0
WR Donald Driver 0 80,1 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 60,1 0

Game Prediction: MIN 21, GB 30

The Vikings' plans for the playoffs this season were derailed this summer when Michael Bennett fell out of the equation with a fractured foot. Moe Williams will take the start in this game but that may mean little more than the first series. Williams is an excellent short yardage back and underrated as an overall back, but still cannot provide the speed and moves like Bennett can which add a whole new dimension to the offense. The Vikings will also be using the rookie Onterrio Smith to replace Bennett who is out at least until October and quite possibly the entire season. Doug Chapman also figures in though he will miss the first two games with a high ankle sprain.

What provides the Vikings with optimism is the apparent maturity of Randy Moss this season. Unlike his past lackadaisical practice habits and attitude, Moss is becoming a quiet leader on the team and a model practice player. D'Wayne Bates enters his second season without Derrick Alexander around but instead finds the rookie Nate Burleson who not only becomes the #3 receiver, but is expected to make an immediate impact and eventually challenge for the #2 spot.

The Vikings attempted to beef up their defense, which makes this season like every other one for the past decade and while they are better off against the run, there are still questions at the corners which has always been their downfall.

The Packers return the incomparable Brett Favre and the same receiving crew that exceeded expectations last season thanks to Donald Driver. This year Terry Glenn is gone and Robert Ferguson takes over the #2 spot with support from Javon Walker and the rookie Carl Ford. The Packers also added Wesley Walls to Bubba Franks to offer a much more diverse set of targets this season than in 2002.

Javon Walker was supposed to challenge for the #2 receiver spot with Robert Ferguson once Glenn was gone but was never able to show enough to make the decision tough. Ferguson enters his third season and should provide a good complement to Driver.

Ahman Green will enjoy a relatively light rushing schedule this season and the plan is to allow Najeh Davenport or FB Nick Luchey relieve him in games to keep him fresh and healthy all season. Davenport has great power but lacks the elusiveness of Green and should figure in only on occasion.

This matchup is always fun and has provided good points in the past. Look for the loss of Bennett to still show and Favre to make the Vikings pay for never having a shutdown corner. This should be a great fantasy impact game this week.

 

Comparative Stats
Starting Week Two

 

Vikings (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 @GB
Week 2 CHI
Week 3 @DET
Week 4 SF
Week 5 @ATL
Week 6 BYE
Week 7 DEN
Week 8 NYG
Week 9 GB
Week 10 @SD
Week 11 @OAK
Week 12 DET
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 KC
Week 17 @ARZ
Packers (0-0)
Score Opp.
Week 1 MIN
Week 2 DET
Week 3 @ARZ
Week 4 @CHI
Week 5 SEA
Week 6 KC
Week 7 @STL
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @MIN
Week 10 PHI
Week 11 @TB
Week 12 SF
Week 13 @DET
Week 14 CHI
Week 15 @SD
Week 16 @OAK
Week 17 DEN
(Statistics are game averages from current season )