My friends. . .we have, officially, made it.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are T-minus one hour from the start of the 2021 NFL season for the Minnesota Vikings, as they’re rolling into Paul Brown Stadium to take on Mike Zimmer’s former team, the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s been a while since the Vikings won in Cincinnati. . .29 years, to be exact. . .and the purple are hoping to get a jump on the NFC North with a victory to start their season.
Here’s everything you need to know about today’s contest.
Date and Time: Sunday, 12 September 2021, noon Central time
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Television Coverage: KSTP-9 (FOX) in the Twin Cities, FOX affiliates around the country, DirecTV Channel 710
Radio Coverage: Vikings Radio Network, Sirius and XM Channel 383, SiriusXM App Channel 820
Line: Vikings -3.5, over/under 47.5
Chris’ Prediction: Vikings 30, Bengals 20
1) Get to Joe Burrow early - The #1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had his rookie campaign ended with a torn ACL, and there’s some debate as to whether or not he’s back to 100%. With the return of Danielle Hunter and a bunch of new faces on defense taking on what looks to be a shaky Cincinnati offensive line, they need to put Burrow to the test early and see if they can get him hearing footsteps.
2) Keep the offense balanced - We know that if Mike Zimmer could give Dalvin Cook 60 carries a game, that’s exactly what he’d do. However, the Vikings have arguably the best 1-2 wide receiver punch in the game in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson and a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that is more than capable of getting the football to them. The Bengals had issues on defense last season, and this Vikings’ offense should be able to generate some yards and points against them.
3) Stay hydrated - You may think this sounds a little silly, but given that kickoff temperature in Cincinnati today is forecast to be around 85 degrees and that the mercury could get close to 90 during this one, the Vikings need to make sure they’re hydrating so that they don’t have issues staying on the field. It sounds like a basic thing, but on hot days like this one it because that much more important.
Know the Foe: Cincy Jungle
As always, there will be a brand new Open Thread at the start of each quarter, so be sure to keep your eyes open for it and move the discussion along accordingly.
With that, it’s nearly time to get things started on a brand new season of Minnesota Vikings football! Everyone enjoy the game, and hopefully we’ll all meet up in around three hours to celebrate the purple going to 1-0.