Oakland Raiders Schedule Week #1: at Minnesota Vikings

Dec 23, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Fred Evans (90) sacks Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) during the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Vikings won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Opening is important for every NFL team.  The Oakland Raiders know this.  How do things look for them in a visit to the Minnesota Vikings?

Subplot:  Matt Schaub begins his climb back

Great journeys begin with a single step.  The Oakland Raiders traded for Matt Schaub because they believed he could get them over the hump.  At age 32, he is coming off the worst season of his career.  A good start in Minnesota could be just the ticket for his confidence.

Victory Conditions

Stop Adrian Peterson

Any thought of beating the Minnesota Vikings starts with this phrase.  Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL.  It takes a complete defensive effort to stop him.  One player to watch is middle linebacker Nick Roach, who has extensive experience playing against “All Day” from his years with the Chicago Bears.  He and strong safety Tyvon Branch must work to limit the big runs Peterson is so capable of.

Confuse Teddy Bridgewater

He hasn’t won the starting job yet but every sign points to the Vikings coaches really liking what they see out of rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.  If he performs well enough in training camp and the preseason, he could get the starting nod.  In that case the Oakland Raiders should prepare accordingly.  Their best bet is to throw as many different formations and looks at the rookie as they can, disguising their coverages and throwing pass rushers from every angle.  Khalil Mack and Sio Moore could prove big difference-makers as blitzers in this contest.

Prediction:  Raiders win 23-21