It’s the Jaguars’ last non-divisional game of 2016. And my how things have changed since Jacksonville (2-10) first faced the NFC North during Week One. The Vikings (6-6) come to EverBank Field on Sunday for the opening act of Jimmy Smith’s induction into the Pride of the Jaguars. Avoid throwing pick sixes and the fans should really enjoy seeing J-Smooth in what will be a ceremony to remember. It will ALMOST make you forget the Jaguars have dropped seven in a row.
If you feel like staying home and ordering Christmas gifts on Amazon all weekend, the Jags-Vikings game will be on FOX this Sunday at 1 p.m.
It will be the 6th time the Jaguars and Vikings will go head-to-head. The Jags have dropped three straight vs. Minnesota. It is only the second time the Jaguars will host the Vikings on the First Coast.
The last meeting was Sept. 9, 2012 in Mike Mularkey’s first game as the Jags head coach. The Vikings won 26-23 with the two quarterbacks being Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert.
Humble-brag to Vikings fans:
We are jealous of so much of what 6-6 Minnesota has done considering the QB injury early on. RCR would rather have your QB situation. None of this is bragging we know.
Connections to River City:
Vikings OL Rashod Hill was born in Jacksonville. The Jaguars signed him last May and Minnesota moved him to the active roster during Week 11.
Local fans will see Xavier Rhodes, a fourth-year pro out of Florida State, and how he has developed with Minnesota. He and Jalen Ramsey could ball out – both wearing something other than garnet and gold.
What to Watch:
It’s the Jaguars annual homecoming game. Over 60 former Jags will be in attendance Sunday. The man of the day Jimmy Smith will be the fourth Jaguar player inducted into the Pride.
Allen Hurns (hamstring), Jared Odrick (shoulder), Denard Robinson (ankle) and Julius Thomas (back) will all be out for Sunday. Will others continue to step up? Will these missing pieces make it another similar mold of a loss?
How the Vikings have built their team. Because of Mike Zimmer, it gets called the Bengals of the NFC. How good is their line depth?
Trying to Figure Out:
Is Blake Bortles’ right shoulder much of anything? What will it take, if anything, to see another quarterback for the Jags these final four weeks?
Only the Niners have lost more games in a row at this point – 11 straight. Will this final month determine Jaguars general manager David Caldwell’s fate?
Out of playoff contention, which Jaguars will be around in black and teal next season?
After a 5-0 start for the Vikings, they have gotten colder than the state of Minnesota this time of year. The Vikes have dropped six of the last seven games. In just two of those seven have they scored more than 20 points. You can come up with a number of similarities between the Jaguars and Vikings.
Head coach Mike Zimmer has been cleared to make the trip to Jacksonville. Adrian Peterson said earlier this week he’ll return this year if the Vikings are in playoff contention. Well then. The way we see it the Vikings could be without their head coach, original starting QB, star running back and three to five other decent players and still be okay. Get ready for another 28-20 or 24-21 game.
We have heard a few times that Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes could be in that All-Pro level of playing this season. He certainly has scoring potential, and we wouldn’t be shocked if he picked off Blake Bortles for a score. Our sanity left a long time ago.
This Equals a Win:
Feed off the energy at EverBank Field. The fans will be living in the past with Jimmy Smith in the building. Hey, the devoted followers deserve this, which sadly could be the biggest highlight of the 2016 season.
Other than that, it seems like each week is on repeat.
How to Listen:
Frank Frangie, Tony Boselli and Jeff Lageman will provide the call on 1010XL and 92.5 FM with Rick Ballou working the sidelines. The Sawyer Gas Kickoff Show begins at 10 a.m. The simulcast will be on WGNE 99.9 FM.
Where to Watch:
The game will be broadcast regionally on FOX and WFOX 30 Sunday at 1 p.m. Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston will be in the booth. Laura Okmin will be the sideline reporter.