CLEVELAND, Ohio — After an unprecedented week of Browns football that saw Brandon Weeden injure his right thumb and the organization trade Trent Richardson, arguably its best offensive player to the Colts, the team and fans are ready to usher in the “Brian Hoyer Era.”
The hometown Hoyer (2004 St. Ignatius graduate) will get the call under center, after Rob Chudzinski named him the starter on Wednesday and bypassing back-up Jason Campbell in the process.
Hoyer will be making his second career start as the Browns (0-2) travel to Minnesota (0-2), for their home opener, to bang heads with the Vikings.
“When you dream of playing in the professional league, you dream of playing for your hometown team. Obviously, that’ll be something special, but really, now, it’s down to the business of preparing. Right now, I’m just focused on doing what I can to prepare and beat Minnesota,” Hoyer said this week.
“This is the opportunity you practice for, you prepare for, and obviously, I’m excited.,” he said. “I’m going to try to take advantage of it and give this team everything I’ve got to help us get that first win.”
With the absence of Richardson, the Browns will turn to newly acquired Willis McGahee to carry the load. He was signed on Thursday, after playing for the Broncos the last 3 seasons.
He appeared in 10 games last season with Denver and finished as the team’s leading rusher with 731 yards. He was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on Nov. 21.
“I’m going to go out there and play the way I know how to play. That’s all I can do. I’ve got to do my job. I can’t do anybody else’s job. I don’t mind helping other running backs. That’s how it is,” McGahee said after practice Friday. “Every year, they’re going to bring in a running back wherever you go. You’ve got to go out there and show the coaches.”
The Vikings opened up the season with road divisional losses to Detroit and last week at Chicago.
Unproven quarterback Christian Ponder will get the start, but all eyes will be focused in the Vikings backfield and on Adrian Peterson. The reigning NFL MVP leads the Vikings’ offense with 193 yards and two touchdowns, including a 78-yarder on his first carry of the season.
He has added 25 yards and one score on five receptions, tied for the third-most on the team.
“He’s an all-around player,” Browns defensive lineman Desmond Bryant said this week. “He has the ability to beat you with his quickness, his speed, but then again, he can lower his helmet and run you over. He’s a very versatile, dynamic back that hasn’t been seen in a while in this league. It’s a challenge for any defense.”
Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. from Mall of America Field in Minneapolis.
P.J. Zeigler will have full highlights and a break-down tonight on FOX 8 News at 10 p.m. and a full story here on FOX8.COM.