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Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans Free Pick- 8/9/13

Houston Texans (12-4) at Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

NFL Football: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm (The Metrodome)

The Line: Minnesota Vikings -1.5 -- Over/Under: 35.5 See the Latest Odds

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The Texans and Vikings square off in Minnesota as both teams have lofty expectations this season but only one looks as though they can fulfill them.

The Houston Texans have been the perfect model for building a franchise as they continue to improve year after year and now they have perhaps the greatest expectations they’ve ever faced heading into 2013. Matt Schaub has emerged as a stud behind centre and the three headed offensive monster that includes Andre Johnson and Arian Foster have made the Texans a Super Bowl favourite in the AFC alongside the Denver Broncos. However, it is the Texans defense that will look to steal the headlines this season as J.J. Watt continues his surge as one of the best in the game and longtime Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed joins the fun in Houston, where he will be called upon to provide much needed leadership to an otherwise very young defensive unit. Heading into Minnesota you shouldn’t expect too many starters to log substantial minutes, but the Texans are a deep team that will be playing for depth positions at best, but are likely treating the preseason as nothing more than a formality.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans Free Pick- 8/9/13

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings made the postseason a year ago as their efforts shocked the football world and they’ll be looking for a repeat effort this season. Adrian Peterson had a season for the ages last year after coming off ACL surgery as he was just nine yards short of breaking the all time single season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson. Peterson will be relied upon heavily once again this season as Christian Ponder continues to work on his game, but will be more of a manager than a difference maker, meaning they’ll be carrying the ball a lot this season. The Vikes did pick up Greg Jennings from the Packers, but at the same time they lost Percy Harvin, who is one of the brightest young receivers in the game and his absence will definitely be felt in Minnesota.  This would be a great game to watch if it were the regular season, but of course we are still a couple weeks away and for the time being we have to watch these makeshift games and as such I think it’s a crapshoot. My lean is toward the home team here as they have solid depth on the ground and I expect Toby Gerhart to have a great game here, control the clock, and keep the high flying Texans off the field.

Minnesota Vikings -1.5

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