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NFL Expert Picks: Vikings Favorites in Week 1 Vs. Bengals

The Vikings open their 61st NFL season Sunday as they take on the Bengals in Cincinnati. Kickoff is scheduled for noon (CT).

Week 1 marks the first chapter in a season-long journey that will includes 17 games for the first time in league history.

Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:

Vikings 19, Bengals 14 — Gregg Rosenthal,

Sometimes the preseason says plenty. These were two of the worst offenses all August, from the games to the practice reports. Joe Burrow's timing, accuracy and confidence all figure to be impacted by his time off recovering from an ACL tear. While the Bengals offensive line issues have been somewhat overblown — I'd take them over the Vikings line! — this is a brutal Week 1 matchup against a Minnesota front with four excellent starters, none of whom were around a year ago. Cincinnati's defense could also be sneaky good and match up well, so I feel more confident in this being a low-scoring affair than I do about the Vikings covering three points on the road.

Vikings 30, Bengals 20 — Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Vikings should be much improved on defense this season, which I think will be the difference in this one. Joe Burrow hasn't looked great this summer, and the Vikings should be much better up front getting after the quarterback with Danielle Hunter back. The Minnesota offense will again feature Dalvin Cook, but I think it's the passing game that wins this one.

Vikings 31, Bengals 21 — Bill Bender, Sporting News

Mike Zimmer is a former Bengals defensive coordinator, and Minnesota went 3-1 in its last four of the AFC North. Joe Burrow is back for the Bengals, and No. 1 pick Ja'Marr Chase struggled with drops in the preseason. The Vikings need to be better against the run this season, and they will be better in this spot. Burrow will watch another former LSU teammate, Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook get Minnesota out to a first-half lead it won't give up. Patrick Peterson also makes a difference in his Vikings debut.

Vikings 23, Bengals 14 — Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

This is a big year for the Bengals, who need to see progress from coach Zac Taylor and franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. I'm not convinced they're going to see it.

Vikings 30, Bengals 13 — Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

If the Vikings are going to be as good as they need to be this year, they need to win this one easily.

Vikings 24, Bengals 23 — Staff, Bleacher Report

The Minnesota Vikings might have been better than the Cincinnati Bengals last season, but the Vikings still won just seven games. And unlike Cincy, they didn't lose their franchise quarterback in the first half of the season.

With that in mind, it strikes the majority of our group as odd that Minnesota is laying more than a field goal on the road against an improved and exciting Bengals squad.

This might simply represent a poor matchup for the Vikings, who make their money running the ball with Dalvin Cook but are going up against a defense that at least fared OK against the run despite struggling overall last year. They also have D.J. Reader back and added Larry Ogunjobi at defensive tackle.

Oh, and in the nine games that Burrow played in fully last season, they lost by more than five points just twice. And those losses came on the road against playoff teams. Against non-playoff teams, Burrow and Co. went 1-1-1 with a positive scoring margin.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 53% —

7 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

5 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, USA TODAY Sports

5 of 5 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB

8 of 11 experts pick the Vikings, ESPN

8 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, The Athletic