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San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings: Key Information and First Quarter Open Thread

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Let there be football!

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages. . .

We’ve made it!

Welcome to the 2018 regular season opener for your Minnesota Vikings here at The Daily Norseman! We are less than an hour away from today’s opening kickoff, as the most important team in the National Football League plays host to the San Francisco 49ers in the first game of the brand new season.

Yes, this isn’t the format that you’re used to seeing for the Game Threads. I’m working on a way to bring that format back but, at the present time, I’m a bit limited. So, this is what we’re going with at the moment. With that, here’s everything you need to know about today’s matchup.

Time: Sunday, 9 September, noon Central time

Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Television coverage: KMSP-9 in the Twin Cities, and a bunch of other FOX affiliates across the nation that you can see right here.

Radio coverage: Vikings Radio Network, Sirius Channel 81, XM Channel 226

Line: Minnesota -7, Over/Under 45.5

Prediction: Vikings 27, 49ers 17

Three keys

1) Establish the run early - Everyone is going to expect Kirk Cousins to come out slinging, looking for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to get the Minnesota offense moving. The bigger key, honestly, could be to get the run game going early to give a solid 49ers defense something to think about. San Francisco comes into this one without star linebacker Reuben Foster, and the Vikings would do well to exploit that early. Whether it’s Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, or even Mike Boone, the Vikings need to get a run game going early on.

2) Give Jimmy Garoppolo a rude welcome - By the same token, Garoppolo is one of the names that’s on everyone’s mind going into this season. He help the Niners run off five consecutive wins to finish their season after a 1-10 start, and the Niners responded by making him the highest-paid player in football. . .a title he held for a couple of weeks. Everson Griffen draws a tough assignment against veteran Joe Staley, but on the other side we’ll see Danielle Hunter. . .who spent all preseason toying with opposing linemen. . .lining up against Mike McGlinchey, the Niners’ top pick in this year’s draft. Hopefully that’s a matchup that Hunter can exploit.

3) Win the special teams battle - With a new punter and a kicker making his regular season debut, it’s going to be interesting to see how the special teams units function for the Vikings in this matchup. Minnesota has been solid on special teams in recent years, and against a quality opponent like the Niners, they’ll need to do what they can to find advantages. They don’t need to make mistakes on special teams and give the Niners extra opportunities.

Know the Foe: Niners Nation

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As yours truly is still on vacation, Ted will be along with the Open Threads for the other three quarters. Rest assured, we’ll still have a recap up soon after the game has concluded. So, keep your eye out for the Open Threads for the next three quarters, and let’s open the season with a decisive victory, eh?

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!