The Vikings will travel to Nashville to take on QB Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. We scoped around the web to see what the experts are predicting for the season-opening matchup on Sunday.
For some reason, this matchup reminds me of Week 6, 1989. It was Herschel Walker's first game in purple, less than a week after the megadeal that would become famous for building the Cowboys' dynasty of the '90s. Walker ran wild, piling up 148 yards and pleasing the Minnesota home crowd to no end. Kyle Rudolph is facing similar circumstances, having been with the team for less than a week. Granted, running back is an easier position to adjust to than quarterback, but I'm thinking Norv Turner will simplify the approach enough for Bradford to not have to consume too much in a short amount of time. (Yes, Mike Zimmer has stated he'll wait until Sunday before announcing his starter under center *— I'm guessing it'll be the shiny new quarterback.) Incidentally, Turner was the OC on the 1992 and '93 Cowboys teams that won back-to-back Super Bowls. I love the Titans' running attack, and I like their prospects this season, but I think the Vikings' front presents a bad matchup. Fun fact: This game features the last two rushing champs, Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray. *
*Vikings 28, Titans 14 *— Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
Tennessee plays right into Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer's hand in this one. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry want to bang it inside; Zimmer's impressive front seven will push them back. That group of linemen and linebackers are as deep as any positional group in football.
The Vikings weren't going to ask much of Shaun Hill this week. The plan doesn't change now that Sam Bradford's in the mix. He can pick on the Titans' weak cornerback group, but this system isn't built for 300-yard days. Stefon Diggs's stats will tell you that.
*Vikings *— Chris Simms, Bleacher Report
The Vikings' opener in Nashville, Tennessee, shouldn't be seen as a cakewalk, considering the Titans should be improved from a 3-13 record a year ago. But if the Vikings can get a lead, their defense can take advantage of an offensive line that allowed the 11th-most pressures in the league last season, and Peterson could have a solid day against the NFL's 18th-ranked rushing defense from a year ago.
*Vikings *— Ben Goessling, ESPN.com
*This is likely going to be Sam Bradford starting after cramming to learn the offense. We think anyway. That’s fine. The Vikings win with the running game and defense. They will do so here. This might be a quick game since both teams want to run it. *
*Vikings 19, Titans 17 *— Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Does the loss of Teddy Bridgewater make this game a loss for Minnesota? I don’t think so. I still believe the Vikings’ defense will make life tough for the Titans’ offense, and the Vikings’ offense will manage a couple of long scoring drives.
*Vikings 14, Titans 10 *— Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
The Titans are 2-0 in Week One over the past two years, 3-27 after it. The “after” tends to make the “before” less of a trend and more of a fluke. The Vikings are the better team across the board. It won’t be pretty, but Minnesota will score enough points to emerge with a win.
*Vikings 13, Titans 9 *— Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's *NFL simulation engine *generates predictions and box scores for every NFL game for the coming week. The highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team's likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 501 times.
Vikings Win Likelihood Percentage: 62.3 percent, Average Score: *Vikings 23.9, Titans 21.6 *— WhatIfSports.com
FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.
Pre-game win probabilities: *Vikings 57 percent *— FiveThirtyEight.com
3 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, SB Nation
5 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports
2 of 6 experts pick the Vikings, FOX Sports
5 of 5 experts pick the Vikings, USA Today