The San Francisco 49ers will host the Minnesota Vikings at Levi’s Stadium in game two of Monday Night Football’s double header. The game will kick-off at 10:20 PM. ET.
The 49ers and Vikings are two teams trending in opposite directions. The 49ers must adjust to life after the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh, while the Vikings have a motivated Adrian Peterson returning from a season long suspension for alleged child abuse.
Vikings Vs 49ers
San Francisco is returning with an almost entirely new cast on the defense. The sudden retirement of Patrick Willis and Justin Smith removes a huge presence on the field, as well as, in the locker room. Even more subtractions, like the surprise retirement of second-year standout Chris Borland, the release of pass-rushers Aldon Smith and Ryan MacDonald after more run-ins with the law, have 49ers fans reeling.
Under former head coach, Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers had assembled a promising young team that reached the NFC Championship in three consecutive seasons with a lone Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately, things unraveled quickly for Harbaugh and the window of success slammed shut, more than it closed. His successor, Jim Tomsula, will have the task of rebuilding a franchise that, outside of Colin Kaepernick, will feature a whole new cast of characters.
Many consider the Minnesota Vikings a dark horse contender for a Wild Card berth this season. Whether that optimism warrants acknowledgment or not, remains deciding. What is certain, is that Teddy Bridgewater will lineup with a motivated Adrian Peterson behind him. Prior to Peterson’s suspension, he was arguably the fiercest running back in the league. Bridgewater’s fleet footedness should make the two a formidable duo.
Peterson will have to overcome an offensive-line that has some serious issues. Starting center, John Sullivan was placed on injured-reserve with designated to return status. The loss of Sullivan at center, as well as, the loss of their starting right-tackle leaves the Vikings vulnerable upfront in the trenches.
Fortunately for Minnesota, Adrian Peterson is a wizard at turning mediocre blocking into long gains. Peterson should overcome the offensive-line issues for a huge day. Expect Minnesota to have success on the ground.
The Viking’s biggest off-season addition not named Adrian Peterson, was wide receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace did not live up to his big contract in Miami and in acquiring Wallace the Vikings are now on the hook for most of that deal. Wallace isn’t a traditional number one receiver, but he definitely adds a vertical element to the offense that can take the tops off of defenses to help open space underneath.
Minnesota is the most over-hyped team coming out of the preseason, but Vikings supporters should feel confident in Adrian Peterson’s matchup in week one. Colin Kaepernick has, up to this point, proven only an average player. Kaepernick has made some dynamic plays with his feet, but in the pocket, his lack of awareness has mired his development. The 49ers offense added Torrey Smith this off-season. Alongside veteran Anquan Boldin, Kaepernick has an intriguing one, two punch.
However, the loss of long time running back and team leader Frank Gore is just another name in a long line of off-season departures.
Both teams will struggle at times this year, but the Vikings look headed in the right direction. The trio of Peterson, Bridgewater, and Wallace now gives Minnesota’s offense solid options. In 2014 the Vikings had a record of 2-5 on the road. Expect the Vikings to roll behind Peterson’s return to a record of 1-0 on the road to start the season.
Play Minnesota -2 @ BetOnline.ag