NFL Football

11
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Minnesota 3 0 0 8 11
Indianapolis 0 15 3 10 28
28
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , September 20, 2020
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana  Weather: 65°, Clear  Attendance: 2,500

Vikings-Colts Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

  1. The Colts have won five straight games against the Vikings dating back to the 2000 season following a streak of five straight wins by the Vikings from 1969-1997. The last time the Vikings beat the Colts was a 39-28 win on December 21, 1997 behind Randall Cunningham's four touchdown passes.
  2. Minnesota lost to Green Bay in its opener, 43-34, allowing 522 total net yards. It was the most points allowed in a season opener in franchise history and the second-most total yards (526 in 1984 vs. SD).
  3. The Colts lost their seventh straight season opener, 27-20 to the Jaguars. They hold the longest active losing streak in season openers and the second-longest such streak in franchise history (lost eight straight openers from 1984-1991).
  4. Adam Thielen caught six passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay, with both scores coming in the fourth quarter. He is the fourth Viking all time with 100+ receiving yards and 2+ receiving TD in a team's first game (also Cris Carter, Ahmad Rashad and Rickey Young).
  5. Philip Rivers completed 36-of-46 passes for 363 yards, one TD and two INT in the loss to Jacksonville, his most completions in a season opener in his career. It was his seventh game with multiple interceptions since the start of last season, second most in the NFL behind Jameis Winston (9).
  6. Nyheim Hines had both a rushing and receiving touchdown for the Colts in Week 1. He is only the fourth Colts player all time with a rushing and receiving score in a season opener, joining Edgerrin James in 2000, Tom Matte in 1967 and Lenny Moore in 1961 and 1964.
Team Comparison

Minnesota
 
Indianapolis
34.0 Points 20.0
259.0 Pass Yds 363.0
134.0 Rush Yds 88.0
0 Takeaways 0
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

INDIANANPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts drafted Jonathan Taylor to complement their ground game.

Now he's the starter - and perhaps the finisher, too. On Sunday, the Colts are giving a 21-year-old rookie his chance to play a familiar part: workhorse back.

"Jonathan, I think has been in this mindset of he's been a star and a starter all his life," coach Frank Reich said. "So for him to step into this role I think is a pretty easy transition."

Taylor is the perfect fit.

At 5-foot-10, 226 pounds, he's powerful enough to be effective inside. His breakaway speed makes him dangerous outside. And in last weekend's pro debut he had six catches for 67 yards. He excelled in the job at Wisconsin, too, where he logged 926 carries and became the first Football Bowl Subdivision player to top 6,000 yards in three seasons.

But with the injured Marlon Mack handing off the starting job, the Colts need Taylor to take on a heavier workload against a Minnesota defense that has typically ranked among the league's best.

The Vikings (0-1) certainly didn't look the part last week.

Minnesota allowed 43 points, the most in coach Mike Zimmer's seven-year tenure, 522 yards, the second most of the Zimmer era. They can't afford to let it happen again or the Vikings could leave town with their first 0-2 start since 2013.

What needs to change?

"I just feel like we came out flat, you know what I mean?" recently acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue said. "People want to say, I guess, not having fans and things like that, but at the end of the day it's just like playing backyard football. We didn't have any fans back then. We just went out there and had fun."

The Colts have other problems.

New quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton dropped the last two passes of the game - a feeling that has gnawed at him all week.

One possible solution is a more balanced offense, with the spotlight shining on Taylor.

"You're excited for Jonathan," Reich said. "This will be a great opportunity for him."

ROAD TRIP

After last week's strange home opener, the Vikings make their first road trip of the COVID-19 era to Indianapolis, where a crowd of up to 2,500 fans could congregate.

Indy opened the season at Jacksonville, where fans were socially distanced.

"This might be a little bit more `normal' now that we've been through this one time," Zimmer said. "We just have to be focused on our job and what we're going to do, and we can't worry about crowds and protocols and anything like that."

But the Colts have been inhospitable to Minnesota, which has lost all 11 games played in Baltimore or Indy. The Vikings own at least one road win against the other 30 franchises.

MILESTONE WATCH

Philip Rivers remembers hanging posters of some quarterback greats in his bedroom. This week, he could be joining some and surpassing another.

Rivers needs two touchdown passes and 366 yards to become the sixth member of the 400-TD and 60,000-yard clubs, and 24 completions to pass Hall of Famer Dan Marino (4,967) for fifth in NFL history. If he makes consecutive start No. 226, he'll tie Terrell Suggs for the league's 11th longest streak.

And one more win will give him 124, tying Hall of Famer and former Vikings great Fran Tarkenton for No. 8.

"That's what matters most, finding a way to help lead the team to a win," he said. "If that means 80 yards passing and handing it off 55 times, then let's do that. If it means something different, then let's do that."

FAMILIAR FOE

The Vikings' last trip to Indy was for Andrew Luck's home debut.

But Ngakoue played at Lucas Oil Stadium four times with Jacksonville before he was traded. In eight career games against the Colts, Ngakoue has 6 1/2 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and one interception. The Colts were eager to get him out of the division - but not happy to see him back so soon.

"He has a relentless motor," coach Frank Reich said. "He's a fierce competitor. That was a very good pickup for the Vikings."

Ngakoue had only four full practices with the Vikings before his debut last week against Green Bay. He was a nonfactor in the loss and acknowledged this week he was rusty.

REUNITED

Xavier Rhodes spent seven seasons with Minnesota before signing with Indianapolis as a free agent in March. He's not bitter, just excited to hit some old friends.

"When I was practicing against those guys when I was there, we were competing each and every play, so it's going to be the same right there on the field," Rhodes said. "But I'm going to be able to tackle them this time."

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AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis also contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated September 17, 2020

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