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Then & Now: Sea of Changes in AFC South await Vikings in 2016

Quite a bit can happen from season to season in the NFL. Rosters inevitably turn over some for division rivals that play twice each regular season, but even more can change for teams that are on multiyear rotations through the NFL schedule.

The Vikings last played the four teams from the AFC South in 2012 and went 3-1, helping pace Minnesota to a 10-6 overall mark and a spot in the postseason.

More changes will take place with this week's NFL Draft, but here's a look at what's happened in the AFC South so far:

View images of the Vikings opponents after the 2016 schedule was released on Thursday.

Tennessee Titans


Matchup:Oct. 7, 2012 | Vikings 30, Titans 7

Titans Head Coach: Mike Munchak (now Steelers OL)

Titans Offensive Coordinator: Chris Palmer (now Bills senior assistant)

Titans Defensive Coordinator: Jerry Gray (Vikings DBs since 2014)

Starting QB: Veteran Matt Hasselbeck was filling in for injured starter Jake Locker

Recap: The Vikings took control early, building a 23-0 lead by the end of the third quarter, and allowed just 267 total yards.


Matchup: Sept. 11, 2016 | Vikings at Titans

Titans Head Coach: Mike Mularkey [replaced Ken Whisenhunt (2014-15) on interim basis last season]

Titans Offensive Coordinator: Jason Michael [replaced Dowell Loggains (2012-13), who replaced Palmer during 2012 season]

Titans Defensive Coordinator: Dick LeBeau [replaced Ray Horton (2014-15), who replaced Gray]

Starting QB: Marcus Mariota, selected No. 2 overall in 2015

Roster turnover:Eight players on Tennessee's current roster of 70 players were with the team during the game on Oct. 7, 2012. That small list includes receiver Kendall Wright and tight end Craig Stevens, defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug (a native of Caledonia, Minnesota), cornerback Jason McCourty and Derrick Morgan, who shifted from defensive end in a 4-3 under Munchak to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 when Whisenhunt was hired as head coach in 2014. It also includes punter Brett Kern and long snapper Beau Brinkley. Thirty-three of the 70 players (47.1 percent) listed on Tennessee's roster have three or fewer accrued NFL seasons.  

Outlook: Mariota turned in a solid rookie campaign, completing 230 of 370 passes for 2,818 yards and 19 touchdowns as a rookie (91.5 passer rating) despite missing four games due to injury. Tennessee has been quite active this offseason, trading for 2014 rushing champ DeMarco Murray after he spent one season in Philadelphia. The Titans also trash-canned mock drafts from coast to coast recently by sending the 2016 No. 1 overall pick to the Rams.

Houston Texans


Matchup:Dec. 23, 2012 | Vikings 23, Texans 6

Texans Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

Texans Offensive Coordinator:Rick Dennison (2010-13)

Texans Defensive Coordinator: Wade Phillips (2011-13)

Starting QB: Matt Schaub

Recap: The Vikings rushed for 174 yards and equaled the output in the passing game while limiting the Texans to 187 net yards, including just 34 rushing yards on 16 carries. Minnesota rolled off 16 unanswered points and held Houston to 1-for-11 on third-down conversions.

*Now                                               *

Matchup: Oct. 9, 2016 | Vikings vs. Texans | Seats available

Texans Head Coach: Bill O'Brien (hired in 2014)

Texans Offensive Coordinator: George Godsey (coached QBs in 2014)

Texans Defensive Coordinator: Romeo Crennel [replaced Wade Phillips (2011-13) in 2014]

Starting QB: TDB (Texans released Brian Hoyer, leading passer of 2015; signed Brock Osweiler and retained Brandon Weeden and Tom Savage)

Roster turnover:The Texans have eight players who were with the team the last time they played the Vikings: DE J.J. Watt, T Duane Brown, ILB Brian Cushing, FS Quintin Demps, DB Kareem Jackson, CB Johnathan Joseph, T Derek Newton and LS Jon Weeks. Forty-six of the 69 players (66.7 percent) on the roster have accrued three or fewer NFL seasons.

Outlook:The Texans have been led in passing by a different quarterback in each of the past three seasons and had seven different players take snaps since 2013. They'll make it a fourth different QB this season by releasing Weeden after they signed Osweiler. DeAndre Hopkins ranked third in the NFL with 111 receptions and 1,521 yards in 2015. While burning through their own quarterbacks in recent years, Houston has tormented opposing passers thanks to J.J. Watt, who has 45 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries and 74.5 sacks through his first five seasons.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Matchup:Sept. 9, 2012 | Vikings 26, Jaguars 23, OT

Jaguars Head Coach: Mike Mularkey

Jaguars Offensive Coordinator: Bob Bratkowski

Jaguars Defensive Coordinator: Mel Tucker

Starting QB: Blaine Gabbert

Recap: Mularkey's lone season as Jaguars head coach began with a thriller that was claimed by the Vikings. Blair Walsh blasted a 55-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, then followed with a 38-yarder in overtime.


Matchup: Dec. 11, 2016 | Vikings at Jaguars

Jaguars Head Coach: Gus Bradley

Jaguars Offensive Coordinator: Greg Olson [replaced Jedd Fisch (2013-14) in 2015]

Jaguars Defensive Coordinator: Todd Wash [replaced Bob Babich (2013-15) in 2016]

Starting QB: Blake Bortles, selected No. 3 overall in 2014

Roster turnover:Only five players, including suspended receiver Justin Blackmon, currently listed on Jacksonville's roster played against Minnesota in the teams' most recent game (16 Vikings that played in the game are still with the team, along with three other players who were inactive in 2012). The others are backup QB Chad Henne, TE Marcedes Lewis, DE Tyson Alualu and LB Paul Posluszny. Forty-three of the 75 players (57.3 percent) listed on the Jaguars roster have accrued three or fewer NFL seasons.

Outlook:Jacksonville's offense has received quite a shot in the arm since Bortles arrived. The QB threw for a franchise-record 35 touchdowns but also led the league with 18 interceptions in his second pro season. He also has been sacked 106 times in his young career. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns formed a formidable receiving tandem, combining for 144 catches, 2,431 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. … Jacksonville's defense should be helped by the returns from injuries of DT Sen'Derrick Marks (missed 12 games in 2015) and DE Dante Fowler, Jr., the third overall pick of 2015 who missed all of his rookie year.

Indianapolis Colts


Matchup:Sept. 16, 2012 | Colts 23, Vikings 20

Colts Head Coach: Chuck Pagano

Colts Offensive Coordinator: Bruce Arians

Colts Defensive Coordinator: Greg Manusky

Starting QB: Andrew Luck, selected No. 1 overall in 2012

Recap: The Vikings fought furiously with 14 points in the game's final 5:07 to tie the game at 20, but Adam Vinatieri made a 53-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining. It was the first of six games that season that the Colts won by four or fewer points.


Matchup: Dec. 18, 2016 | Vikings vs. Colts | Seats available

Colts Head Coach: Chuck Pagano

Colts Offensive Coordinator: Rob Chudzinski [replaced Pep Hamilton (2013-15) during last season]

Colts Defensive Coordinator: Ted Monachino [replaced Manusky (2012-15) this offseason]

Starting QB: Luck

Roster turnover:Nine of the 66 players listed on Indianapolis' roster were with the Colts when the two teams last met: Luck, TE Dwayne Allen, T Anthony Castonzo, CB Vontae Davis, WR T.Y. Hilton, OLB Robert Mathis, P Pat McAfee, LS Matt Overton and Vinatieri. Thirty-six of the 66 players on the Colts roster have accrued three or fewer NFL seasons.

Outlook:After opening his career with three straight 11-5 seasons, Luck was struck hard by injuries in 2015 and went 2-5 in seven starts. It wasn't the encore that anyone imagined after Luck led the NFL in 2014 with 40 touchdown passes to claim his third straight selection to the Pro Bowl. He is set to return with 2012 NFL Draft classmates Hilton at receiver and Allen at tight end. Hilton will be going for his fourth straight season with more than 1,000 receiving yards. Vinatieri is approaching his 21st NFL season, and the Colts have several veterans on defense with double digits in years of experience, including linebackers Trent Cole, D'Qwell Jackson and Mathis.

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