3 Things for Vikings to win
1. Feed Adrian Peterson. It’s been too long. Time to unleash him.
2. Teddy Bridgewater must continue his maturation. Teddy Ball Game has just begun to scratch the surface. If he continues to develop, starting with this contest against a new look 49ers defense then I suspect the Vikings will be in good position to win this one on the road.
3. Force Colin Kaepernick to beat you from the pocket. The 49ers are expected to tailor their offense to Kaepernick’s strengths. Which means more read option. There’s no question regarding Kaepernick’s physical tools but it remains to be seen whether or not he can consistently make plays from the pocket as a passer. Discipline in keys, rush lanes and sound tackling are going to be pivotal in this contest.
3 Things for 49ers to win
1. Play to your strengths defensively. Not certain what this 49ers defense will look like with the losses of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Chris Culliver, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, etc. But whether your pass rush or secondary is the lynchpin of your “D” tailor your game plan accordingly.
2. Pass protect. The Vikings have a rapidly improving defense and the offensive line and quarterback play in San Fran last season was suspect. Getting into the proper protections, holding up at the point of attack and getting the ball out on time was a struggle for Kaepernick and his offensive linemen. They’ll have to play markedly better to win Monday night.
3. Establish Carlos Hyde. Did I mention that the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore, is no longer in town? Hyde flashed as a rookie last season in a limited role but he’s the man now. Gore left behind some large shoes to fill but if Hyde can provide a consistent and physical threat on the ground in addition to Kaepernick’s running ability they can possess the football and limit the Vikings’ offensive possessions. Thus, swinging the pendulum in the 49ers’ favor.
What to watch for…
A.P. Must see T.V. armed with a complimentary (competent) passing game and full year’s rest. Watch out!
The Front Office Says…
The Minnesota Vikings win.