The Vikings will kick off the 2015 regular season in San Francisco, facing the 49ers for Monday Night Football. With Adrian Peterson returning to the field after missing almost all of last season and Teddy Bridgewater heading into his full second year at the helm, the Vikings have several things to feel optimistic about.
Almost all teams experience face lifts during the offseason, but the 49ers in particular underwent extreme adjustments. In addition to gaining a new head coach in Jim Tomsula after Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan, San Francisco lost several players to retirement, off-field issues and free agency.
Let’s take a look at the Week 1 matchup:
All right, let’s start with what is safe to assume will be the Vikings’ biggest concern: the offensive line. Most fans are still reeling from last year’s OL woes, and it appeared early this offseason that 2015 would offer better protection for Bridgewater and company.
Now, heading into Week 1, the Vikings are without starting tackle Phil Loadholt (Achilles) and starting center John Sullivan (back). The news of Sullivan having surgery came abruptly Thursday, after the team had reported for weeks that Sullivan simply suffered from back spasms.
In the absence of Loadholt and Sullivan, the Vikings will be relying on rookie T.J. Clemmings and veteran Joe Berger to fill in, respectively. However, there are a few silver linings: Clemmings has looked decent practicing in Loadholt’s stead, and there’s a lot of potential to grow into. Berger has been practicing with the first team for quite awhile now, and he is not exactly inexperienced. Also, the Vikings have Brandon Fusco back at the line after missing parts of the 2014 season.