The Vikings begin the NFL regular season on the road Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium. We scoped the web to see what experts and analysts are predicting for the outcome of the Vikings' Week 1 matchup.
Adrian Peterson's long-awaited return to the NFL comes against a team that has held him to fewer yards per carry (3.0) than any other in the league. But this 49ers defense, without Justin Smith, Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis, lacks the tenacity of the ones that bottled Peterson up in the past. The Vikings' rickety offensive line is a cause for concern, but before a prime-time audience, Peterson will make a statement against a team in transition.
Vikings 24, 49ers 13--Ben Goessling, ESPN
Minnesota steals one on the road. Down three with 1:54 on the clock, *Teddy Bridgewater takes the Vikes down the field and wins the game. Perhaps no player has impressed more over the last month of relatively insignificant football while displaying significant development. Let's hope Colin Kaepernick sees the touch Bridgewater puts on his deep ball and assimilates that skill set into his own game. OK, Patrick Willis and Chris Borland will come out of retirement before that happens. The49ers' D is going to have to help out Kap by halting Adrian Peterson. With the grand attrition in the Niners' front seven and the rash of injuries on the Vikings' offensive line, it will be very interesting to see how the matchup in the trenches plays out.*
Vikings 21, 49ers 17--Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has carried his strong stretch run last year into the preseason. With *Adrian Peterson back in the fold, Bridgewater will have a running game at his disposal in 2015 he could only dream of a season ago. And a young Vikings defense anchored by end Everson Griffen, linebacker Anthony Barr and safety Harrison Smith appears set to take a big step forward. The 49ers, on the other hand, have been barreling in the other direction seemingly since the moment their 2014 season ended. The departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh. Surprise retirements. The release of linebacker Aldon Smith. Upward of 40 percent of the 49ers player snaps last year are just...gone.*
Vikings--Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report
The Vikings will be on of the NFL's most improved teams, while no team has lost more this offseason than the 49ers. The late Monday night game could get ugly.
Vikings 34, 49ers 10--Michael David Smith, *Pro Football Talk
Adrian Peterson* won't be a decoy, but look for the offensive coordinator Norv Turner to take full advantage of the home team's obsession with stopping Peterson.*
Vikings 34, 49ers 10--Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
Vikings supposedly a team on the rise, Niners a team on the decline. Maybe, but not this week.
49ers 17, Vikings 16--Barry Wilner, AP
8 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, Bleacher Report
7 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports
4 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, FOX Sports
11 of 13 experts pick the Vikings, ESPN