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Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings: Key information and first quarter discussion

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It’s time for the 2019 season to (finally) begin!

New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings

For the first time since 30 December of last year, your Minnesota Vikings are about to take to the field at U.S. Bank Stadium for a game that actually means something.

Let’s hope that this one goes a hell of a lot better than that one did.

Yes, we are now less than an hour away from the opening kickoff. . .the real opening kickoff. . .of the 2019 NFL season, as the Vikings play host to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 action. Both of these teams are coming off of disappointing 2018 seasons, and they’ll both be looking to get this season started on the right foot.

Here’s everything you need to know about today’s contest:

Date and Time: Sunday, 8 September 2019, noon Central

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

Television coverage: KSTP-9 in the Twin Cities, FOX affiliates throughout the country, DirecTV Channel 710 (free preview weekend for NFL Sunday Ticket)

Radio coverage: Vikings Radio Network, Sirius Channel 83, XM Channel 226, SiriusXM App Channel 819

Line: Minnesota -3.5, Over/Under 47

Chris’ prediction: Vikings 27, Falcons 20

Three keys

1) Establish offensive balance early - The Vikings have made it clear that they intend to run the ball more often this season, and everything they’ve done leading up to now has reinforced that. The Vikings are going to need to get Dalvin Cook going early against a suspect Atlanta defense, and that will help what should be a much-improved play-action game from Kirk Cousins and company. If the Vikings can keep the Falcons off-balance, they will be very successful this afternoon.

2) Pummel Matt Ryan as much as possible - Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback, and he has some very good weapons surrounding him, particularly now that the questions surrounding the status of Julio Jones have been answered. The Falcons’ offensive line, however, is very suspect, and the Vikings are going to have to get in Ryan’s face to throw him off of his game. This should be the sort of game where Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen should be able to tee off a bit, and hopefully we’ll see that.

3) Hope that you’ve fixed your special teams issues - The Vikings have one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history in Dan Bailey, and a veteran punter/holder in newly-acquired Britton Colquitt. There should be no excuse for this team to continue to have the sort of kicking issues that haunted them last year. In a game between two teams that appear to be fairly closely matched, special teams could be a difference maker, and new coordinator Marwan Maalouf’s crew needs to be ready to make that difference.

Know the Foe: The Falcoholic

Twitter: Right here, @DailyNorseman

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We’re back to regular season rules, which means that we’re doing a new Open Thread at the start of each quarter, so make sure you keep your eyes open for that.

It’s a new season, ladies and gentlemen. . .let’s hope that the purple can get this one off to a big start.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!