Minnesota Vikings at 49ers: Where to watch, TV, preview


The Minnesota Vikings open the 2015 season Monday night in San Francisco against the new-look 49ers. Game time is set for 9:20 PM CT.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and can be streamed via NFL Game Pass. You can also hear the game on radio on KFAN 100.3.

The most recent betting line has the Vikings minus 1.5. Early lines had the 49ers favored by as many as 4.

Why did the line shift so much? Because the 49ers have suffered a massive exodus of talent in recent months.

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San Francisco will take the field with at least seven new defensive starters. Gone are notables Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Chris Borland and Aldon Smith.

The 49ers also lost long-time running back Frank Gore.

Speaking of running backs: The Vikings Monday night will be happy to welcome back Adrian Peterson, who hasn’t played a game since Week 1 of last season.

The return of Peterson is just one reason why a lot of national media people have zeroed in on the Vikings as a playoff sleeper.

Peterson should be fresh after almost a year off, or at least that is the conventional wisdom. The running back should also be highly motivated…so they say.

Motivated-and-fresh Peterson will be running behind a patchwork offensive line that features rookie T.J. Clemmings at right tackle, journeyman Joe Berger at center and former backup Mike Harris at right guard.

But that line should have no problem blocking the 49ers’ new defensive players, right?

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater certainly hopes his line can handle San Francisco and all their new players. Bridgewater is good under pressure but that doesn’t mean he wants to run around all night.

If Bridgewater does get time to throw, he has a new receiving weapon in Mike Wallace to get the ball to.

Wallace has been a model teammate since arriving with the Vikings in an offseason trade. And I’m sure his attitude will remain positive even if Bridgewater doesn’t target him much.

Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws in the pocket against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Bridgewater has other weapons besides Wallace, including his favorite receiver Charles Johnson and returning tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The Vikings surely will also try to work in rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt, who showed flashes in the preseason.

Defensively, the Vikings come into the season with several question marks, most notably at cornerback and safety.

Robert Blanton gets the start at strong safety for the Vikes after fending off Andrew Sendejo and Antone Exum in preseason.

Terence Newman starts at cornerback but at 37 you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.

Captain Munnerlyn will be the nickel corner after spending much of the preseason running with the second team while Mike Zimmer gave rookie Trae Waynes a chance to gain experience with the first team.

The Vikings may be a little weak in the secondary but they’re strong in the front-7 and especially on the defensive line.

Minnesota has a wealth of talented pass rushers, including right end Everson Griffen, third-down specialist Tom Johnson and rookie backup Danielle Hunter.

The Vikings hope that 2014 top-10 draft pick Anthony Barr can also develop his pass rushing skills. Barr will line up at linebacker alongside new starting MLB Gerald Hodges.

The Vikings are expected to bring in rookie Eric Kendricks in nickel situations while still employing old, slow good guy Chad Greenway at the Will backer position in base.

Minnesota experienced some anxiety in preseason thanks to kicker Blair Walsh, but now that the regular season is beginning, Walsh should go back to being his old reliable self. Right?

Kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson hopes to give fans a thrill by running back a kick for a touchdown. If Flash-in-the-pan does anything as an actual receiver, that would just be a nice bonus.

Let’s hope the game doesn’t come down to Jeff Locke and his straight-down-the-middle punting. Locke was slightly better than usual in preseason but I’m not convinced he’s gotten over his propensity to boom his punts into the end zone for no good reason.

The Vikings are led by head coach Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator George Edwards. And not a finer staff will you find anywhere in the NFL.

Vegas and most everyone else expect the Vikings to win this game even though it’s on the road. But you know, funny things happen in the NFL.

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