It’s finally here. The regular season is upon us. The Vikings open the 2013 season this Sunday by playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the Motor City, with kickoff slated for noon CT. This marks the first time the Vikings have opened with a road division game since 2008 and it’s just the second time in franchise history the Vikings have opened at Detroit.
The Vikings swept the season series against the Lions last year and seek their second consecutive regular season opener victory. In the 2012 opener, the Vikings beat the Jaguars 26-23 in overtime, thanks to a two-touchdown performance from
But that’s all in the past. Let’s take a look ahead at five things to watch this week as the Vikings prepare to face the Lions in Week 1…
1. Rule No. 76: No excuses. Play like a champion!
The Vikings offense boasts the NFL’s MVP and added two talented receivers –
2. Vikings young secondary tested early
For much of the preseason I’ve proclaimed my excitement for how the Vikings secondary has looked. While
3. Special teams will be a difference-maker on Sunday
Vikings fans have great memories of last season’s game at Ford Field. It was a victory, and along the way to victory the Vikings returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. While Detroit has a new special teams coordinator and they most certainly made this a point of emphasis during the offseason and preseason, the Vikings remain one of the top special teams units in the League and they’ve added a spectacular playmaker to the group in Patterson. The rookie from Tennessee put his playmaking skills on display right away in the team’s first preseason game, taking the opening kickoff back 50 yards and nearly breaking free for a touchdown. If Patterson gets his hands on a kickoff this weekend, he just may finish the job and get to paydirt. On top of that, Sherels is probably itching for another return touchdown in the Motor City, Blair Walsh will enjoy kicking in the controlled climate of Ford Field, and
The status of
5. Will Detroit’s dominant defensive tackles dominate?
Speaking of Fairley and Suh, they should be Topic A for the Vikings offense as they prepare this week to play the Lions. A lot of football followers believe in building a defense on the edges by investing high picks and free agency money on defensive ends and cornerbacks, but Detroit chose to spend – and spend wisely – on strong, physical tackles who can push the pocket into the quarterbacks face and blow up a running play before it can get started. Fairley was a first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in 2011 and Suh was also a first-round pick (No. 2 overall) back in 2010. Together, they form a formidable and disruptive tandem in the middle of Detroit’s defense and the Vikings offense must figure out how to avoid allowing them to ruin the game. The Vikings have the weapons on offense to strike against this defense, but scheme and protection will be key this week in order to neutralize the strength of this defense.