The NFL Kickoff game last Thursday night was probably one of the most hyped kickoff games of all times. Just like the NFC Championship game last January, this games TV ratings were through the roof. The only thing that was different was instead of the offenses dominating the game it was the defenses that made a stand. The game ended with a total score of 14-9 in favor of the defending champion Saints. From a Saints point of view, winning against the Vikings for a 2nd straight time is exactly what they needed to get themselves on track to win back to back Super Bowls.
From the Vikings perspective, this game is a bit of a disappointment but it has a much better feel then the game in January. The Vikings realistically had a lot more questions as well coming into this game. Injuries were the number 1 concern coming into this game, with the absent of WR Sidney Rice as well as CB Cedric Griffin. The Vikings also lost 3rd down running back Chester Taylor in free agency this past year. Not to make excuses but you can definitely see after Thursday Nights game that there are a few new faces out there. The Vikings offense seemed to just not click on all cylinders except for the drive right before halftime.
Another thing that might have hindered the Vikings thus far is the absence of players from this years training camp. Percy Harvin missed all of training camp due to the death of his grandmother and severe migraines. Sidney Rice decided after training camp was over to finally get hip surgery so he didn't practice during training camp at all. Griffin is still hurt from last seasons NFC Championship game so he didn't practice either. Because of the lack of attendance at the receiver position in August the Vikings decided to trade 3rd year cornerback Benny Sapp for Greg Camarillo, a WR from the Miami Dolphins. Camarillo is a good receiver but he is also trying to get in the flow of the Vikings West Coast Offense.
This Sunday the Vikings will open their home season against the visiting AFC East Miami Dolphins. Camarillo will show off his purple and gold to his former team this Sunday and make his presence known. Also I expect the Vikings to have a big game defensively as the strength of the Miami Dolphins Offense lays with their run game. Chad Henne will have to step up and come through in the passing game if the Dolphins want any shot at beating the Vikings on their own turf.
This Sunday expect the Vikings passing game to be better, but not amazing. It will take till week 5 in NY for the Vikings to really start to click. I expect Peterson to get his first 100+ yard game this Sunday with a couple of touchdowns to show for it. My personal guess is the Vikings will win 24-10 in this one. If the Vikings don't win then it is going to be tough to catch up in the division with the Bears and Packers already a game ahead in the NFC North. The Vikings have a tough schedule this year and need to have just as good of home record as they did last year, which was perfect. One thing is for sure...Mall of America Field will be rocking come noon on Sunday to welcome back the 2010 Minnesota Vikings.