The Minnesota Vikings open their 2011 season today against the San Diego Chargers from lovely Southern California at 3:15 Central time.
The Vikings have a new permanent head coach, a new quarterback, a new contract for Adrian Peterson and Chad Greenway, and a new look defensive line. San Diego has one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Philip Rivers, one of the best offenses and defenses in the league, yet missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record last season, primarily because the Chargers are notorious for getting off to slow starts.
On offense, look for QB Donovan McNabb to try and engineer long, sustained drives, using Adrian Peterson between the tackles, and short passes to the tight ends and wide receivers. McNabb has had a good training camp, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense has been something the players have raved about sine they arrived in Mankato. I am excited to see it put to full use today.
On defense, the Vikings must put pressure on Philip Rivers early and often, but the key will be to keep them off the field as much as possible. The Vikes secondary, which has a lot of question marks at the safety position, will face one of their toughest tests all season, so it is incumbent for Brian Robison, Remi Ayodele, Letroy Guin, and Jared Allen to harass and hit Rivers from the opening whistle to the final gun.
Football is back, kids. Long live football!