Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Good evening, Skoldiers. Are you ready for some football?

The 2015 offseason for the Minnesota Vikings has been one of great excitement which has led us to this moment… opening night on Monday Night Football with expectations so high Roger Goodell wants to suspend Jerome Simpson again.

Adrian Peterson is back! Teddy is under center! Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks, and T.J. Clemmings will surely get in on their first meaningful NFL action. Norv! Zimmer!

If there is one major concern coming out of the preseason it is certainly our offensive line’s ability to be resilient, but I’m not wanting to go all Captain Buzzkill at this particular moment. Kick back, let your boss know you’ll be two hours late tomorrow morning, pour yourself whatever beverage you prefer, and enjoy the game!

The Vikings Territory staff has provided their pre-game predictions after the jump, don’t forget to join us on Draft Kings next week to try and take our money, and prepare to fill the comments section with comments of awe and glee!

PREDICTIONS

ADAM WARWAS – Vikings Win – 34-17

I think the feet of Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson will go a long ways towards masking any deficiencies along the offensive line, especially with all four of those feet finally playing at once, and Norv Turner’s offense lights up the shell of what-once-was San Francisco’s defense. Combine that with a very healthy Mike Zimmer defense and we’ve got all the ingredients we need for a convincing victory.

AUSTIN BELISLE – Vikings Win – 27-17

I’d love to predict the Vikings winning by more than ten points, but I’m having trouble seeing it happen against the 49ers. Yes, the two teams are headed in opposite directions — one ship is sailing toward smooth waters, while another is on course for a nasty typhoon. On paper, the Vikings should dominate Monday night’s game, but a few obstacles stand in their way. Historically, the Vikings struggle in primetime games, having won just two since 2009. The turnover at offensive line could also prove difficult against San Francisco’s crop of pass rushers, but I trust Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The 49ers will keep the game close with a late touchdown, but the Vikings will find opportunities through the air and on defense against a turnover-prone Colin Kaepernick.

BRETT ANDERSON – Vikings Win – 24-13

There is no reason the Vikings shouldn’t win this game – and that has me absolutely terrified. A season opener, against a team they should absolutely beat, on primetime. *shudders*

The truth is, we really have no idea what to expect from this 49ers team. Their roster has been so decimated, SB Nation created an app that shows you what your team would look like had it suffered the same catastrophic offseason. (The Vikings, ‘Ninerized‘) Their defense has lost a ton of critical pieces which should make it relatively easy for the Vikings to move the ball and score. I also think the Vikings defense will be able to do a good job of limiting Carlos Hyde and the 49ers less-than-impressive group of wideouts. My two biggest concerns? First, the Vikings run blocking displayed this preseason as me worried. Granted, the addition of Peterson makes a huge difference but I’m not sure how much it will matter if Peterson is getting blown up shortly after touching the ball. (This seemed to happen consistently with McKinnon and Asiata in preseason games.)

Furthermore, the Vikings offensive line is even more of a question mark now that centerpiece John Sullivan has been placed on IR Designated for Return. Secondly, Minnesota defenses have always had a difficult time containing mobile quarterbacks. Even Mike Zimmer’s defense struggled last season against the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. The Vikings have to contain Kaepernick when he begins to flee the pocket. If the Vikings can do these two things well, I don’t see them having a hard time with the 49ers and expect a pretty one-sided game.

BRIAN HALL – Vikings Win – 27-16

Going on the road for the late night Monday game is not easy. But the Vikings will get their season started off strong with a 27-16 win against the 49ers. I think this is the classic case of two teams headed in opposite directions.

Specifically, we’ll see Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater in the backfield together for the first time going against a decimated defense. By now you’ve heard all about the changes along San Francisco’s defense. Leading tackler Chris Borland is gone, but Navorro Bowman is back at linebacker. But between Borland, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith (retirement), Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald (off-field trouble) and both starting cornerbacks gone (Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver) the defense doesn’t resemble anything like last year’s top-10 unit.

Meanwhile, Zimmer seems to be putting the pieces in place to feature a steady defense that can go win on the road and shutdown middling offenses. I don’t trust Colin Kaepernick and who knows what to make of the move from Jim Harbaugh to Jim Tomsula.

LINDSEY YOUNG – Vikings Win – 17-10

I’m historically bad at predicting final game scores, but here you are. I really feel like tonight’s game will be more of a defensive battle and won’t have a ton of scoring. I absolutely think that the Vikings hold the upper hand tonight, and even with the offensive line concerns, I’m predicting that Teddy Bridgewater be able to lead the team into the end zone twice. I’ll even go so far as to predict one rushing touchdown (Adrian Peterson) and one receiving touchdown (Charles Johnson or Mike Wallace). San Francisco proved last season that it’s not the offensive team it was in 2013, and this year I expect Colin Kaepernick and Co. to struggle even more. The Niners will be adjusting to a new-look roster and new coaching system, and in my opinion their biggest weapon will be their defensive line; they won’t be able to count on scoring.

BRENT LABATHE – Vikings Win – 27-17

I expect the Vikings to control the majority of tonight’s game on both sides of the ball. Adrian Peterson will eclipse at least 100 yards and will score the first TD for the Vikings in 2015. Bridgewater will be good, but won’t be asked to do much and the Vikings play the time of possession game.
Defensively, I think the defensive line will be disruptive and I expect at least 3 sacks. That number would be higher if it wasn’t foot Kaepernick, who is quite good escaping pressure. I don’t expect WR Torrey Smith to do much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Vernon Davis had a big game for the 49ers.

Blair Walsh will be perfect.

All in all, a good showing for the Vikings on National TV (if it’s that late, can it even be considered National TV?) who typically don’t play well during major broadcasts.