The day before each game, we'll get the lowdown on the opponent from the person that knows them best -- one of their beat writers. Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune checks in this week on the Minnesota Vikings.
1. OK, just how chilly is it behind the scenes between Brett Favre and Brad Childress? Much different than the squabbles last year?
Zulgad: The relationship is definitely strained but this should come as a surprise to no one. These two have their own ideas about how an offense should run and neither is about to back down. There was tension between them last year before the incident in Carolina clued the media into what was going on. Those squabbled and differences have carried over and Favre's struggles with interceptions this season has made it that much worse. Last year, the Vikings went 12-4 and made it to the NFC title game and Childress and Fave didn't see eye-to-eye. It should come as no surprise they aren't seeing eye-to-eye with the team sitting at 2-4.
2. Who is the one Vikings player most Patriots fans don't know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?
Zulgad: Linebacker Chad Greenway is having a Pro Bowl season for the Vikings and appears to be making himself quite a bit of money in the last season of his contract. This guy has been solid before but he's taken his game to another level this year. Greenway leads the Vikings with 65 tackles and 7 have been behind the line of scrimmage.
3. What's the biggest weakness on the Vikings' offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?
Zulgad: The offensive line has been up-and-down this year and with the uncertainty at quarterback it would be a good idea for Bill Belichick and Co. to dial up more blitzes than usual. Brett Favre figures to be extremely limited in his mobility if he starts and while Tarvaris Jackson is mobile he doesn't handle the blitz all that well. Sending an extra player or two at either quarterback might not be a bad idea and getting a consistent pass rush could cause real troubles.
4. What's the biggest weakness on the Vikings' defense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?
Zulgad: Cornerback Chris Cook probably came back from a knee injury too quickly last week and was picked on by the Packers in the nickel package. Cook played left corner in the nickel, Antoine Winfield would shift inside, and struggled so much that he was lifted in favor of veteran journeyman Frank Walker. It's not certain who will be the extra DB in the nickel but look for Tom Brady to test that guy out whether it's Cook or Walker.
5. Vikings win on Sunday if....
Zulgad: Adrian Peterson has a huge day. Peterson is probably the best running back in the NFL and is likely the Vikings' best hope on offense to establish things on the ground early and then open up play action. Peterson fights for all his yards and if he is successful on Sunday the Vikings have a slight chacne to beat New England.-------------------------------
Thanks to Judd for taking the time out to help us out. You can read his fine work on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune website, and on Twitter at @juddzulgad.