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Vikings To Make Statement With 49ers Win

September 7, 2018

The Minnesota Vikings return to US Bank Stadium for the first time since the ‘Minnesota Miracle’ after missing out on the chance to host Super Bowl LII last season.

Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs connected in the dying seconds of the Divisional Round to defeat the New Orleans Saints in one of the most incredible plays in NFL history.

Minnesota were unable to use the momentum in the NFC Championship Game as they were hammered by the Philadelphia Eagles, spurning the opportunity of becoming the first team to play the Super Bowl on home soil.

Keenum paid the price for his failure in the Championship Game. He along with Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater were moved on from the quarterback room. The Vikings landed a coup by signing the top free agent available luring Kirk Cousins to the club.

Cousins has been impressive during his time with the Washington Redskins. He was surprisingly allowed to leave the NFC East by the Redskins. He now has a huge opportunity to lead a team on a deep run into the playoffs.

The San Francisco 49ers are the first opponents for the Vikings in the 2018 campaign. There are high expectations for Kyle Shanahan’s men entering the new term. Jimmy Garoppolo led his team to five-straight wins after being acquired from the New England Patriots.

There’s pressure on Garoppolo to maintain his form and justify the contract handed to him in the off-season, while on defense it’s time for the number of high draft picks to perform. The first game of the campaign will be an important tone-setter for San Francisco.

Will Cousins make a winning start in Minnesota?

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have retooled in the off-season, arriving in 2018 with the potential to make a surge towards the Super Bowl. Cousins gives them a huge upgrade at the quarterback position over Keenum. Keenum was solid for the club last season and gave all that he could, but the NFC Championship Game proved to be a match too far for the veteran.

Cousins has been impressive in the NFL since he replaced Robert Griffin III as the Redskins’ starting quarterback. It was baffling that Washington failed to agree a long-term deal with the 29-year-old. Their loss is Minnesota’s gain and he will have his best corps of receivers to work with begin the Vikings’ quest for the Super Bowl.

Diggs got the headlines last season for his catch in the ‘Minnesota Miracle’. He agreed a new long-term contract with the club and will have a huge chance to expand his skills with a quality quarterback. Diggs has all the attributes to be one of the leading wideouts in the NFL and it would be no surprise to see him have a career year.

Adam Thielen has been outstanding since breaking out in the 2016 term. He recorded over 1,200 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Paired with Cousins, Thielen should be on course to maintain those standards. Dalvin Cook’s return from injury will hand the Vikings an offense that is very hard to deal with through the air and on the ground.

Minnesota return the best defense in the NFL from last season. They’ve only added talent to their ranks, with Everson Griffen leading the unit with his power off the edge. Danielle Hunter is the perfect foil off the other side of the line. There’s quality in the linebacking corps and the secondary, therefore it will be the ultimate test of Garoppolo’s talent under pressure on the road.

San Francisco 49ers

All eyes are on Garoppolo to see whether he can maintain his excellence from last season. The 26-year-old was the heir apparent in New England to Tom Brady. However, Brady’s continued brilliance forced the Patriots to trade the quarterback to the 49ers at the deadline last October. Garoppolo proved his quality by guiding the 49ers to five-straight wins to end the campaign, including victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans.

The quarterback earned plaudits for changing the culture of a struggling team with his work ethic and leadership qualities. Garoppolo got the best out of a limited receiving corps and will have to do so once again in the 2018 campaign. If he can continue to perform with his current group of receivers, the 26-year-old will be on his way to somewhat matching the levels produced by his former mentor in New England.

The 49ers have been dealt a blow by the loss of Jerick McKinnon for the season with a torn ACL. He was going to be the starting running back. As a result, Alfred Morris will be the lead back, with Matt Breida in relief. Morris had the best seasons of his career under the tenure of Shahanan in Washington. He recorded a 1,600-yard campaign in his rookie year – a similar season would be welcomed by the San Francisco coaching staff and supporters. Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon will be vital in the receiving corps as there are few proven commodities otherwise.

San Francisco have invested heavily in their front seven in recent drafts. It’s time for their talent to deliver, especially on the defensive line. Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have to perform to stop the run and provide pressure on opposing quarterback this term, starting with Cousins. Richard Sherman made the stunning switch from the Seattle Seahawks to the 49ers. His elite skills have been on the wane over the last couple of terms. If the 49ers can squeeze out a couple more impressive seasons could provide them with a solid secondary.

Betting Options

The Vikings are a quality side on paper and have the opportunity to make a statement in front of their home fans on the opening day. San Francisco have promise with Garoppolo at quarterback, although this match might come too soon for the 49ers against one of the best teams in the NFL. Back the Vikings to claim the victory at -265  on Bovada, while take Mike Zimmer’s men on the -6.5 spread at -110  with TopBet – winning by a touchdown seems to be the correct call.

The line for the game on the over/under on total points scored has been set for 46 across the leading bookmakers. Given the talent on offense take the over at odds of -110  with BetOnline. Diggs should be in line for a good start to the term. Take him to have over 66 receiving yards at 17/20 , while take Kyle Rudolph to score a touchdown anytime at 1/1  at 888Sport.

Tips Summary

Minnesota Vikings To Beat San Francisco 49ers
Sunday 9th September 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: -265

Take -6.5 Spread Minnesota Vikings
Sunday 9th September 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: -110

Over 46 Points To Be Scored
Sunday 9th September 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: -110

Stefon Diggs To Record Over 66 Receiving Yards
Sunday 9th September 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: 17/20

Kyle Rudolph To Score Touchdown Anytime
Sunday 9th September 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: 1/1

  • Jimmy Garoppolo
  • Kirk Cousins
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • NFL
  • San Francisco 49ers

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.