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Tennessee Titans (0-0) vs. Minnesota Vikings (0-0)
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (0-0) open their preseason season schedule this week, hosting the Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at LP Field (capacity 69,143). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm CDT on Saturday, August 13th.
The Titans and Vikings earned identical 6-10 records in 2010, and each team will take the field with a markedly different appearance from one year ago. The changes include new head coaches, assistant coaches and quarterbacks who are hoping to make a quick impact and reverse their team’s recent fortunes.
The game will be televised regionally on the Titans Preseason TV Network, including flagship WKRN-Channel 2 in Nashville. Cory Curtis will handle play-by-play duties, while former Titans running back Eddie George and former Titans defensive end Kevin Carter will provide analysis. Dawn Davenport will report from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, color commentator Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
The game can be heard locally on 1400 AM, WJZM.
A New Beginning
Since the conclusion of the 2010 season, the Titans have undergone significant transformation. Owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr. announced in February that Mike Munchak would take over as the 16th head coach in franchise history, replacing Jeff Fisher, whose tenure began in 1994.
Munchak, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, enters his 30th season with the organization. In a 12-year playing career (1982-93), he started 156 regular season games (seventh in franchise history) and earned nine Pro Bowl invitations. He then spent three seasons (1994-96) as an offensive assistant/quality control coach before taking over the offensive line in 1997.
Munchak heads a 19-man coaching staff, of which 14 members are either new to the team or have a different role from 2010. Both coordinators— Chris Palmer on offense and Jerry Gray on the defensive side—were hired by Munchak early in the offseason.
General manager Mike Reinfeldt and his staff have done their share to inject the roster with new talent. Perhaps most notably, the Titans have two significant additions at quarterback. In April, they used the eighth overall pick in the NFL Draft to select Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who passed for 7,639 yards and 53 touchdowns during his four-year college career. The Titans then acquired former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on the first day of the unrestricted free agent signing period (July 29th). Hasselbeck has passed for 29,579 yards and earned three Pro Bowl berths in 12 previous NFL seasons (Green Bay 1999–2000, Seattle 2001–2010).
Other free agent signees for the Titans include defensive tackle Shaun Smith (with Kansas City in 2010), tight end Daniel Graham (Denver), linebacker Barrett Ruud (Tampa Bay), cornerback Frank Walker (Minnesota) and safety Jordan Babineaux (Seattle).
Like the Titans, the Vikings have many new pieces in place heading into the preseason. After serving as interim head coach for the final six games of 2010, Leslie Frazier was hired on a full-time basis in 2011. Frazier, a former defensive back with the Chicago Bears and a 12-year NFL coaching veteran, initially joined the Vikings as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator in 2007.
With the departure of quarterbacks Brett Favre and Tarvaris Jackson this year, the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder and traded for Donovan McNabb. Ponder, a Florida State product, was selected with the 12th pick in the draft, just four spots after the Titans’ Locker. McNabb spent 2010 with the Washington Redskins after 11 years with the Philadelphia Eagles (1999–2009).
Titans-Vikings Series at a Glance
What To Look For This Week
Mike Munchak makes his head coaching debut for the Titans after spending 12 years as an Oilers player and 17 seasons as an assistant coach with the Oilers/Titans.
Munchak and the Titans face a Vikings unit led by Leslie Frazier, who is in his first preseason as head coach. Frazier was Minnesota’s interim head coach for the final six contests of 2010.
Among many players scheduled to make their debuts in a Titans uniform are quarterbacks Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck. Locker, a product of the University of Washington, was selected in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, while Hasselbeck was signed by the Titans as an unrestricted free agent prior to the start of training camp. Hasselbeck is a veteran of 12 previous campaigns with the Packers and Seahawks who has passed for 29,579 career yards.
Like the Titans, the Vikings have added an experienced veteran and a first-round pick to their quarterbacking corps in 2011. They selected Florida States’ Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in the draft and then traded with the Washington Redskins for Donovan McNabb.
The Titans and Vikings have the most productive NFL running backs of the last several years. The Titans’ Chris Johnson leads the league in rushing yards since his arrival in 2008, and the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson can make the same claim since his rookie season in 2007.
Titans-Vikings: The Last Meeting
Minnesota Vikings 17 at Tennessee Titans 30
The Titans forced four turnovers and rushed for three touchdowns in a 30-17 defeat of the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field.
The final takeaway by the Titans, an interception by cornerback Nick Harper, put the Titans in position to score on a touchdown run by rookie running back Chris Johnson with under four minutes remaining in the game.
The touchdown was Johnson’s second of the game. He matched Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, whose game totals included 18 carries for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Titans opened the game with an 11-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.
On the third play of Minnesota’s first possession, quarterback Gus Frerotte hit fullback Naufahu Tahi for a short gain. David Thornton pursued the play and knocked the ball loose. It was recovered by Stephen Tulloch for the first of three Titans fumble recoveries.
The Titans took over at the Minnesota 33-yard line. After driving to the three-yard line, LenDale White fumbled the ball, and the Vikings recovered in the end zone for a touchback. However, the play was challenged by head coach Jeff Fisher and reversed upon the ruling that White was down at the one-yard line before fumbling. On the next play, Johnson sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Vikings scored their initial points on the first play of the second quarter. Peterson sprinted for a 28-yard touchdown to pull his team within three points.
The Titans responded on the ensuing series with their third consecutive scoring drive to start the game. Quarterback Kerry Collins, who passed for 199 yards in the game, completed passes of 28 and 25 yards to Justin Gage to help set up a 32-yard field goal by Bironas. Gage led the Titans with five receptions for 92 yards on the day.
Later in the second quarter, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch caused Peterson to lose control of the ball. It was picked up by defensive tackle Tony Brown at the Minnesota 16. After the Titans offense took control, they faced a fourth-and-two on the three-yard line. Collins passed to Gage for a first down, but the Vikings challenged the spot of the ball.
Referee Peter Morelli upheld the call on the field, and on the next play White crossed the goal line for his fifth touchdown of the season. The Titans took a 23-10 lead into the fourth quarter after Bironas booted a 49-yard field goal in the third period. With six minutes remaining on the clock, Peterson scored his second touchdown of the game on a three-yard run to make the score 23-17.
Chris Carr returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards. The Titans converted one first down, and then Craig Hentrich punted to the Minnesota two-yard line. That set the stage for a third-down play in which Brown pressured Frerotte in the end zone, resulting in the errant pass that was corralled by Harper.
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth added a late sack to give him two of the team’s four sacks.
TopicsAdrian Peterson, Albert Haynesworth, Barrett Ruud, Brett Favre, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, Chris Palmer, Christian Ponder, Cody Allison, Craig Hentrich, Daniel Graham, David Thornton, Dawn Davenport, Denver Broncos, Donovan McNabb, Eddie George, Florida State, Frank Wycheck, Green Bay Packers, Jake Locker, Jeff Fisher, Jerry Gray, Jordan Babineaux, Justin Gage, K.S. Bud Adams Jr., Kerry Collins, Kevin Carter, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Larry Stone, LenDale White, LP field, Matt hasselbeck, Mike Keith, Mike Munchak, Mike Reinfeldt, Minnesota Vikings, Nashville TN, National Football League, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Pro Bowl, Philadelphia Eagles, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Rob Bironas, Seattle Seahawks, Stephen Tulloch, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tony Brown, Washington Redskins, WJZM 1400 AM, WKRN-Channel 2
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