As I often say on the VikingUpdate Podcast, predictions are stupid. You make a projection knowing that circumstances could change because of injury, weather, bad officiating, luck, funny bounces, unseen circumstances. But everybody asks for them, so we provide them, and here is my first of the season:
Vikings 20, Titans 17.
Blair Walsh makes a 27-yard field goal to give the Vikings the victory.
This season opener is remindful of Mike Zimmer's two others as the Vikings' head coach. In both, he faced bad teams that did not know yet just how bad they were. Two years ago, Matt Cassel engineered a well-coached, workmanlike victory at St. Louis. Last year, the Vikings got pummeled by the 49ers.
I think this game blends those two. I think the Vikings will be workmanlike and will win. I also think Tennessee keeps it close by running the ball and being creative with quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The Vikings' offense will be limited either by Shaun Hill's physical abilities or Sam Bradford's unfamiliarity with the playbook, enabling Tennessee to keep it close. But if I have to pick a winner in a close game I'll take Zimmer and the Vikings' defense, with Walsh making the winning kick because that's so often how sport works.
My season pick for the Vikings: 9-7. I thought this was an 11-5 team that might be able to steal a 12th victory if Bridgewater was healthy. Without Bridgewater, even successes will be more of a struggle.
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