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Key Matchups: Ravens vs. Vikings


The Ravens are set to kick off their preseason home schedule at M&T Bank Stadium against trhe Minnesota Vikings.  * * breaks down three key matchups to watch heading into the game.


Ravens QB Troy Smith against Vikings secondary

While Smith may have started two games in 2007, the former Heisman Trophy winner has much more to play for this weekend. A solid performance will go a long way into the decision as to who Baltimore's starting quarterback will be Sept. 7, when the Ravens open their regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Vikings were supposed to have upgraded their secondary, which finished last in the NFL in pass defense in 2007, with the addition of safety Madieu Williams, but Williams was recently sidelined for up to six weeks with a neck injury. Smith could have a big day against a banged-up Vikings defensive backfield.

Ravens LBs Nick Greisen and Bart Scott vs. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson

Future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis isn't necessarily expected to play more than a few series, which means that Greisen and Scott will have the honor of tracking down Peterson, last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Peterson is a hard-running workhorse that likes to deliver hits just as much as these two Ravens. Expect some big collisions in the first half once Baltimore's linebackers hit scrimmage.

Ravens LT Chad Slaughter vs. Vikings RDE Jared Allen

The reigning NFL sack champion signed a very lucrative contract to bolster Minnesota's pass rush, and he'll bring a lot to Slaughter, who was working construction just over two weeks ago. Slaughter has the arm length to keep the speedy Allen away from Troy Smith, but he needs to really focus on footwork to counter Allen's varied pass-rushing moves. Slaughter said that he is beginning to get his football legs under him after performing well against New England's Richard Seymour, but Allen is even more of a challenge.

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