The Vikings play San Francisco Sunday at Noon on KFAN, and here are some things I'm thinking into the game:
Kirk Cousins starting at QB means the Vikings have started six different players at that spot in season openers since 2013. The last quarterback to start back to back season-opening games is Christian Ponder (2012/'13). Ponder in '13 then Cassel, Teddy, Shaun Hill, Sam and now Kirk.
San Fran's three leading tacklers from last season no longer are on the team.
The Niners have two studs (Buckner and Armstead) on the DL who are 6-7. Sounds like a fair amount of PBUs if not careful.
Was posed this question today -- 14.5 over/under on Dalvin's carries week one. I'm on the over, but not by much because Latavius looks good and deserves run. Instead, they may chill on Cook a tad early and ramp up his carries as the season progresses.
Danielle Hunter will lead the team in sacks this year, and I have the number around 14.
My NFC playoff predictions are Saints, Rams, Eagles and Vikings win divisions. Green Bay and Atlanta are the wildcards. AFC: Patriots, Steelers, Chargers and Texans win divisions, Chiefs and Jags the wildcard teams. The NYG might usurp Philly in the NFC East.
With Kendricks, Barr, Smith and Iloka covering big-time tight ends should not be a problem, and we hook Jimmy Graham and Zach Ertz the first five games.
Predicting rookie Mike Hughes gets more run than Alexander when the team goes nickel.
Sneaky thing to follow with new punter Matt Wild is he'll be holding on kicks for rookie Carlson, and they need to find cohesion in a hurry.
The Vikings should be a run-first team that plays outstanding defense and wins lower-scoring games this stage of the season. Until the OL gains unity and experience we need to run for like 128 YPG and force safeties and LBs to honor it. That's when Cousins gets single coverage all over the field and makes the adversary pay with Diggs and Thielen.
I think we start 3-and-0 and you are on your own after that.
Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson are playing for long-term, fat deals; hope they play better than ever. Richardson did not overwhelm me this preseason, so maybe there's better to come starting Sunday.
The Niners book-end tackles bit of veteran Staley and rookie McGlinchey will be very good at some point. They, however, HAVE to give the Notre Dame rookie help Sunday versus Hunter or he'll wreck the game.
How will THEGREAT Richard Sherman play Sunday on his Niners debut? Will he shadow Diggs or man one side of the field like he did in Seattle?