The NFL has suspended OT Bryant McKinnie four games. What does this mean for Adrian Peterson?
Surprisingly, not as much as it will mean to Tarvaris Jackson (or whomever is starting at QB for Minnesota).
Let's drill deeper ...
McKinnie's suspension is for four games for violating the Personal Conduct Policy. I'm a huge fan of McKinnie, a fellow Hurricane and someone who used to talk to him on a weekly basis back when he was going through the draft process, and I think he's a solid left tackle and a big reason why the Vikings' run game is so good.
But his absence will make an impact. Artis Hicks, a seven-year veteran, will start in his place.
WEEK 1: Minnesota at Green Bay. Hicks will go head-up with Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila on passing downs and Cullen Jenkins on running downs. This matchup isn't as fearsome as you might think as KGB has taken a step back and is actually hurt right now. Jenkins is a versatile big boy but he shouldn't overmatch Hicks.
WEEK 2: Indianapolis at Minnesota. Hicks will take on Dwight Freeney. Oof. Freeney is well rested after missing a chunk of last year with an injury. Even though he'll be at home, I don't think he'll do very well against the speed and quickness Freeney utilizes.
WEEK 3: Carolina at Minnesota. Hicks draws Julius Peppers as his opponent. Double Oof. Peppers has been a house of fire this preseason, something new from him. Obviously, he realizes his 2007 season was a huge bust and if he's going to cash in on his contract year, he needs to play inspired ball. I don't like Hicks' chances here, either.
WEEK 4: Minnesota at Tennessee. Assuming Hicks isn't benched by now, his opponent here is Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is a powerful bull rusher who not only can get to the quarterback, but also stop the run. To be honest, this is the only matchup I'd be a little nervous about Adrian Peterson not performing well in.
Ultimately, I think Jackson will see much more pressure in the pocket than Peterson will have against the run. Peterson remains a top-five Fantasy pick, but I might go elsewhere for a backup QB.