*Much of the buzz surrounding the Steelers going into week 6 was who would start at running back. As expected Rashard Mendenhall started and got the bulk of the carries.
Moving forward the starting job is Mendenhall’s to lose. Mendenhall gives the Steelers offense another dimension with his pass catching and blocking ability and the coaching staff wants Mendenhall to be their lead runner. His type of running style suits the kind of offense Bruce Arians wants to run.
In Mendenhall’s three starts, the Steelers have scored 93 points.
Willie Parker though has been a very important part of the Steelers franchise the past 5 seasons. He’s been their starting tailback for two Super Bowl winning teams. He won’t be pushed aside nor should he. If healthy, Parker will still play a key role for the Steelers this season. He will just have to make the most of his opportunities.
But, what to watch for is how Parker handles
the amount of carries he gets. Last year Parker was not happy about not getting the ball enough and had no interest in sharing any carries with Mewelde Moore, who performed well in place of the injured Parker.
Parker has never be known as a leader but from all indications he has developed a good relationship with Mendenhall this year, which has been a good sign.
Injury concerns for the Vikings?
*Three key injuries to keep an eye on this week
*RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) – Peterson suffered an ankle injury in the 4th quarter against Baltimore but he still rushed for 143 yards.
*WR Percy Harvin (shoulder) – According to the Star Tribune, Vikings rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin left the Metrodome with his left arm in a sling Sunday after re-injuring his left shoulder on a fourth-quarter kickoff return.
*DB Benny Sapp (concussion)
Vikings probowl cornerback to miss game?
*According to the Star Tribune, Vikings Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield confirmed this morning in his weekly appearance on KFAN that he was going to have an MRI done on his injured right foot to get an accurate reading on the full extent of the damage. Winfield was hurt in the second quarter of the Vikings’ 33-31 victory Sunday over Baltimore and did not return.
“Hopefully I go ahead and get some good news,” Winfield told host and Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen. “It still is OK right now. A little bit swollen and a little bit sore but I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on the field and play against the Steelers.”
*Remember defensive end Ryan McBean? Was the Steelers 4th round pick in 2007 and released by the team prior to the 2008 season. McBean, 25, is now starting for the Denver Broncos who have one of the best defenses in the league right now.
*The signing of Keiwan Ratliff has been a dud. Mike Tomlin wanted to keep special teams ace Anthony Madison but Kevin Colbert wanted Ratliff. Ratliff lost his place in the nickle defense this week and could lose his spot on special teams
*Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu are looking forward to the Steelers bye week. Both players are banged up and need a week off. The same for Trai Essex.
Indications are that 2010 will be a uncapped year. That will make RT Willie Colon a restricted free agent. The Steelers though have all intentions on locking up Colon long-term. The Steelers regard him as one of the best right tackles in the game.
*The Steelers have not made any public comments regarding Jeff Reed to this point.