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In Thursday's key matchup, we break down two units that struggled in Week One, set to face off in Indy.
Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Vikings secondary
Luck had a fairly inauspicious debut, having a hand in four turnovers and barely completing 50 percent of his passes. This is far from the QB we grew to know at Stanford, nor the one who had a mostly sharp preseason. One problem in Week One was his pocket — as in, the lack of one. He was sacked three times, hit on several more throws and never able to set and throw comfortably. Worse yet, the pressure often came up right in his face, courtesy of Bears DT Henry Melton (two sacks) rushing from the interior, or from Luck's back side via Julius Peppers.
The Vikings can supply their own edge heat with DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison (who had a great Week One game), and the Colts are still tinkering with their offensive line, which clearly is a few men short of being a capable group.
Expect some adjustments: quicker throws, screens and draws to keep extra defenders from teeing off on Luck and setting up in a pass-rush mindset every down. The Colts dropped back to pass too often (48 times) and ran the ball too little (15) in the opener, and some semblance of balance must be sought.
The Vikings had problems against Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert in the opener, a sign that Luck can succeed here. CB Chris Cook was beaten on what appeared to be the game-winning TD by Cecil Shorts in the final minute of regulation. He also was turned around a few other times earlier and dropped at least one would-be interception, a bad sign for Minnesota's de facto No. 1 cover corner who likely will face off against WR Reggie Wayne more than once.
The rest of the group was just OK. CB Antoine Winfield was strong, and nickel CB Josh Robinson was game in his first NFL action, but the safeties were up and down. In his first start, rookie FS Harrison Smith made a key pass deflection in overtime, making up for an earlier missed tackle, but he otherwise was quiet. Mistral Raymond was late on help a few times — although the Vikings were making some aggressive calls, forcing him to cover more ground — and he was sloppy in tackling.
Luck might try to take advantage of the aggressive calls if the Vikings try that again. He has shown an ability to look off safeties and play-action pass with precision. Assuming his receivers can beat press coverage, Luck should hit the Vikings for some big plays at home.