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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Sep 9 2011 @ 3:56 am In Minnesota Vikings | No Comments

The NFL season is officially underway.  Green Bay downed New Orleans in a shootout, 42-34 on Thursday night, to open the 2011 NFL regular season.  There is good news for Minnesota Viking’s fans everywhere.  The Vikes will get to play three games against these two teams during the season, which will certainly call for plenty of national media attention.  The bad news is that I think Minnesota will probably go 0-3 in these games.  The Vikings will not be able to stop Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, but that is a fact facing plenty of teams.

The good news is that Minnesota has an excellent chance to make the playoffs.  It’s always dangerous to try to forecast a team’s success simply based on the schedule, but at the beginning of the year that is all you really have to work with.  After looking over that schedule, I think the Vikes are looking at a 10-6 campaign.  Not too bad and that is forecasting a 3-3 division record, splitting two with Detroit, while sweeping Chicago and being swept by Green Bay.

The four most important players are pretty clear.  On offense, the Vikings will always be in the game if (RB)Adrian Peterson and (QB)Donovan McNabb play well.  Defensively, Minnesota will be looking to (LB)Chad Greenway and (CB)Antoine Winfield to set the tone.  There are other guys that are very important, but to me those are the core ingredients to a successful season.

Minnesota opens up the 2011 season on Sunday in San Diego.  My objective view is that the Vikings will probably lose, but this is certainly a winnable game.  The Chargers defense, while ranked as elite last year, is basically the same unit that gave up an NFL record 296 yards to Peterson in 2007.  In addition, under Norv Turner, San Diego has been a slow-starting team and while Philip Rivers is a fantasy thouroughbred, he is only a marginally above .500 quarterback.  The key in this game will be for Jared Allen and the blitz to put some pressure on Rivers.  In the last two years he has lost both Ladainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles, so he doesn’t have the dump-off options that he used to have.

Minnesota has a legitimate chance to be a playoff team.  If they can win week 1, on the road against a good San Diego team, that will be a huge bonus.  The Leslie Frazier era officially begins this week and logic would point towards a strong defensive team.  They will need to have a big effort from the Viking D to win against the Chargers, but if they should fall short, this is one of those games where everyone will need to analyze the game and take away the positives.  The biggest positive of all is that the NFL avoided a work stoppage and we all have a full season to look forward too.

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