When you are a blogger, especially a hack blogger, lists can be your best friend.  I like lists.  I like to use them.  They keep me organized and look nice.  Columnists often get more creative in how they relay information and opinions, but I stick with lists.

So… not to shock you:  I have a list for you.

Here is my list of the top five things I will be watching for in tonight’s matchup against the 49ers:

1.  Harrison Smith To Bring The Big Hits

Reports surfaced this week that first round rookie safety Harrison Smith got into it with Percy Harvin over some contact that was made during practice.  Smith made some comments following the incident that suggest he may be a little frustrated with practice rules that are keeping him from showing the coaches what he can really do.  I look forward to seeing him in action tonight.

2.  Moss Reemerges With Niners

I should probably be most concerned with the Vikings and only the Vikings, but I have always enjoyed watching Randy Moss play football regardless of which uniform he is wearing.  Tonight he makes his return to the NFL after taking 2011 (and some would argue 2010) off, and I am excited to see how he does.  Oh yeah, and it’ll be fun to see the Vikings corners try to blanket the aging Freak.

3.  Blair Walsh Kicks Things Off

I think kicker is one of the most underrated positions in football, but some recent contracts being dished out around the league indicate that teams realize the value of having a dependable leg on the roster.  Rookie Blair Walsh will be under the microscope all season long and the scrutiny, or praise, will begin tonight.  Much has been made of his field goal attempts during training camp (where he seems to be faring pretty well), but after years of watching Ryan Longwell I am equally interested to see if he can boot a kickoff or two out of the back of the end zone.

4.  The Young Skill Players

Vikings receiver coach George Stewart recently stated that he thought Manny Arceneaux has improved more over the last year than he has ever seen out of any player.  Manny is one of many young offensive skill players I am curious to watch.  The young receivers have a chance to make a name for themselves and the third running back spot could be an interesting battle if Jordan Todman or Derrick Coleman can outshine Lex Hilliard.

5.  Ponder Is Where It Is At

You guys are going to eventually get tired of me ending my lists this way, but the theme is repetitive because it is a fact:  2012 is all about Christian Ponder.

End of story.