Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers: Game predictions


Football season is here, guys. IT’S HERE.

The Minnesota Vikings kick off their regular season in merely two days. TWO FREAKING DAYS. They’ll travel to the Bay Area to take on the San Francisco 49ers for their Week 1 contest (but you already knew that, I hope).

Below, you’ll find some predictions I’ve piled together for Monday night’s game.

Vikings @ 49ers – Game Predictions

The Offensive Line will struggle

Guys, I’m pretty scared for Teddy Bridgewater’s well-being. Between John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt, Bridgewater has lost easily the two best offensive linemen on this roster for extended periods of time. Replacing those two guys are veteran backup Joe Berger at center and unproven rookie T.J. Clemmings at right tackle. Additionally, Mike Harris gets the nod at right guard, despite being listed as a right tackle for his entire NFL career until this season. On the left side, the Vikings have Matt Kalil as the only returning starter at the same position from last season’s squad and Brandon Fusco has moved to left guard to replace Charlie Johnson.

Phew, that’s a lot of changes. It’s also a lot of inexperience.

Since it’s the first game of the season, it should be at least half expected that the offensive line will struggle. Hopefully, offensive coordinator Norv Turner gameplans for it and uses plenty of short, quick passes for Bridgewater in the offense Monday night.

Colin Kaepernick will be flustered

Some of this is due to Kaepernick simply not being that great of a quarterback and possessing relatively weak pocket presence. However, this Vikings defensive line will definitely create problems for Kaepernick as well. Everson Griffen is returning after an impressive 12-sack season and he only got better in the offseason. Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson, and Shamar Stephen each displayed the ability to rush the passer this preseason (although Stephen only played one preseason game).

Additionally, Brian Robison, Justin Trattou, Scott Crichton, and Danielle Hunter make up the rest of the defensive end rotation and each of these guys can put pressure on the quarterback, and they showed it in the preseason. There’s no doubt that Kaepernick will have his hands full trying to lead this offense.

Blair Walsh will make field goals (!)

Blair Walsh really sucked in the preseason, let’s just get that out of the way right now. But the fact that Mike Zimmer has shown that he trusts Walsh makes me feel a little better about Walsh still being the kicker for this team.

Special Teams coach Mike Priefer told ESPN’s Ben Goessling that Walsh started to overthink things in preseason games. With a clean slate, Walsh should be efficient this season.

Also, worth noting: Goessling makes an interesting point regarding Walsh’s slump. Last season, Walsh hit a slump in Weeks 14 and 15 where he hit on just one of six attempts. Despite this, he did manage to hit his final four attempts of the season. The difference this season is that Walsh’s slump happened in the preseason, so it doesn’t matter, right?

You MUST share my optimism on this.

The Vikings’  first touchdown of 2015 will be scored by Kyle Rudolph

Here’s how I see this scenario playing out:

Norv Turner sets up a drive with rather conservative playcalling that includes a balance of quick passes and Adrian Peterson runs. The Vikings eventually get themselves inside the San Francisco five yard line, where Bridgewater rolls out to his right off play-action and finds Rudolph in the end zone for six. Easy money.

I mean, I wouldn’t complain about any other Vikings scoring the first touchdown of the season. I just hope it happens on Monday night. It will happen, right? Oh man, I hope I didn’t jinx it.

San Francisco’s all-black uniforms will be hideous

I mean, if you haven’t seen a picture yet, here you go. Yeah, exactly.

Chris Berman will make weird grunt noises

Unfortunately, this is something we’ll have to deal with on Monday night. It’s the price we pay for watching our Vikings on Primetime television. Hopefully, by reading this I’ve at least help you prepare for it.

The Vikings will beat the 49ers 27-13

My final prediction for Monday night’s game is the score, because why make a bunch of predictions and then not include the score? Our Minnesota Vikings should handle this 49ers team that looks absolutely nothing like last year’s team. It’s hilarious how so many players just said “nah” and walked away from the 49ers at the same time.

Anyway, expect Adrian Peterson to record another 100-yard game as Turner should look to establish the run early in this game. Also, look or Charles Johnson and Rudolph to see quite a few targets in this game, as the two of them appeared to be Bridgewater’s favorite receivers this preseason.

As always, leave any predictions or additional thoughts you may have in the comments.

More from The Viking Age