Thoughts to open the Vikings' 57th season:

• With Paul Molitor's current work, Mike Zimmer is fourth on confidence meter for major pro coaches here, behind Bruce Boudreau, Molitor and Tom Thibodeau.

• There's a rookie center, two ex-backup centers at guard and a swinging gate at right tackle. That's an improved offensive wall?

• Key player:Anthony Barr. If he gets back with it as a 6-foot-5 playmaker, the defense's collection of athletes will overmatch enough opponents to reach the playoffs.