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The Minnesota Vikings visit their division rivals, the Detroit Lions, to open up the season on Sunday.
Last year, the Vikings swept the Lions in both of their matchups 20-13 and 34-24, respectably.
Division games will be important for both of these teams right away as they look to unseat the reigning champions, the Green Bay Packers.
Here are three bold predictions for the game.
Cordarrelle Patterson finishes the game with 200 all-purpose yards
The Vikings had three first round picks in this year’s draft and traded back into the first round to select wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson with that last first round selection.
The Vikings are hoping that Patterson can be the type of player Percy Harvin was for them: a speedy wide receiver that is a threat on special teams.
Patterson is still a very raw talent, but has flashed some of his illusiveness and speed this offseason. That illusiveness and speed will be even more difficult to defend on turf. Especially for a Detroit defense that is, at best, average beyond the defensive linemen. Expect Patterson to pile on a bunch of yards in the return game and add to that total with some receiving yards. His numbers could reach close to 200.
Reggie Bush rushes for 100 yards
The Lions signed Reggie Bush in the offseason in hopes that he would improve their running game. The Lions have struck out the past few seasons in trying to find their go to back and many believe Bush can be a nice fit in Detroit with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
The Lions' running attack was so poor last year that according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stafford threw 727 times last year! Last year, Bush ran for 986 yards and hit the 1,000 yard mark for the first and only time in his career, the year before with 1,086 yards all with the Miami Dolphins.
Bush will be back playing on turf for which should help his speed and explosion more. With the Lions wanting to be more committed to the run game this year; look for him to break the 100-yard mark.
Adrian Peterson rushes for 150 yards and Vikings still lose
Last year, Adrian Peterson rushed for 103 and 171 yards against the Lions. Even though the Lions have one of the best front fours in the NFL, don’t expect that to completely stop Peterson. Once Peterson gets passed the line of scrimmage, there’s no one in Detroit’s back seven that can stop him.
Unfortunately, that won’t be enough to lead the Vikings to victory because they still have Christian Ponder at quarterback. The Lions' front four will give Ponder trouble and he has shown so far he is not a very good quarterback under pressure.
This should be a good game for even the casual NFL fan to watch. There will be a lot of story lines involved in this game like: How do the rookies Patterson, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Ziggy Anash look? How are Bush and Greg Jennings adapting to their new teams? Has Ponder made any progress? This game should help to answer some of those questions.