With under twenty-four hours until kickoff, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be putting their 0-3 record on the line against the Minnesota Vikings who also stand at 0-3. Both teams are in need of a win, but only one can come out of Wembley Stadium in London with the victory. The Vikings have lost three straight, close games and look to put a “W” in the win column, while the Steelers try to put up a winning game for the first time this season as well.
Quarterback Matt Cassel will be getting the start for the Vikings after Christian Ponder sustained fractured ribs last week against the Cleveland Browns. Cassel’s start changes the focus in no way when trying to defend running back Adrian Peterson.
“He is unquestionably the best in football,” Coach Mike Tomlin told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “Every time he touches it, he is capable of going the distance. He is an inside runner. He is an outside runner. He’s combative. He has great hands. He is a man for all situations. “We have a great deal of respect for him and what he is capable of.”
Peterson was the offensive Most Valuable Player in 2012 after coming back from a torn ACL in under a year and rushing for over 2,000 yards in a single season, falling just shy of Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 yard season in 1984.
“Everybody has to run to the ball and try to match his intensity,” said cornerback William Gay. “He is going to have the same intensity from play one until the end of the game. That is going to be a goal of ours, to match his intensity and everybody run to the ball.”
In 2013, Peterson has averaged 4.1 yards a run on 69 attempts for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. Peterson will now go head-to-head against the number one defense in the league over the past two seasons.
“He is the best in the business,” said defensive end Brett Keisel. “No one runs the ball like him. No one has the power or speed. He is one of those guys where everyone has to be gap sound or he will find the weak link and expose it.”
The Steelers are in trouble early in the 2013 season, and what better way to see where you are as a defense than to go against a player who ran his team into the postseason in 2012? The Steelers will head into their bye week after they play in front of a crowded Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.