This season can pretty much go one of two ways: The Vikings, who are clearly rebuilding despite the holdover presence of some stars, can either continue with a slow growth (something like 5-6 wins) or they can make a bigger leap (challenging for .500 or maybe even a wild card spot if EVERYTHING falls into place). We actually think the latter is a reasonable prediction and that 8-8 is not crazy given the schedule and some other factors.
Remember, this team lost 9 games by a touchdown or less last year. The quarterback situation should be improved -- that is to say, a second-year Christian Ponder should be better than a rookie Ponder or a decrepit Donovan McNabb. The defensive secondary, which was unbearably poor last year, might be improved to the point of being adequate now. And despite the Greg Childs injury, there is more depth at wide receiver.
We won't get all the answers tonight, but we will get a glimpse of how swift progress might come.
Your predictions for tonight and for the season are, as usual, welcome in the comments.