Two teams with loads of optimism entering the 2013 regular season square off Sunday evening, as Christian Ponder and his Minnesota Vikings travel to California to take on Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers. Both squads qualified for last season’s playoffs, but this year it’s fair to say both Minnesota and San Francisco are expecting more. After active off-seasons from both teams, tonight’s contest will provide the first real and extended look at some of the new acquisitions. It’s a nationally televised Sunday night game, with two pretty solid teams. Though we are still a couple of weeks away from doing this for real, this is as close as it gets, and it should be good tonight. We enter tonight’s selection with a 4-3 record thus far in the pre-season, looking to build our bankroll before the real games get underway. Read on below for tonight’s preview and official pick.
Vikings at 49ers Betting Odds:
Minnesota Vikings +3 (-120)
@ San Francisco 49ers -3 (+100)
Over 39 (-110)
Under 39 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings at 49ers Pick:
Through the first two weeks of the exhibition season, the Vikings haven’t been all that great. This was supposed to be the year that former first-round pick Christian Ponder developed into a legitimate starting option under centre, but after his early showings, doubts have remained. Ponder has lost Percy Harvin, but the Vikes have replaced him with the reliable Greg Jennings, and the uber-talented rookie, Cordarrelle Patterson. If Ponder can’t have a decent showing against the Niners tonight, it will not be a good situation entering Week 1 in Minnesota.
As has been customary thus far for the majority of Week 3 games, it’s believed that both coaches plan on playing their starters into the third quarter. For Minnesota, star running back Adrian Peterson has yet to suit up in the pre-season but does plan on doing so tonight against one of the game’s best run defenses. Against a ferocious front-seven of the Niners, Peterson will have his work cut out for him. San Francisco has likely one of the best defensive units in the game, and they will test and pressure Ponder and Peterson for the better part of three quarters.
One unique thing to point out regarding San Francisco, is there expected quarterback rotation. Having recently added veteran QB Seneca Wallace to the fold, it’s expected they’ll trot out five quarterbacks to experience game action tonight. Assuming Kaepernick gets a half to himself, it leaves the remaining four (Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, B.J. Daniels, and Scott Tolzien) to carry their weight until game’s end. Expect the variety of looks to confuse the Minnesota defense. McCoy and Wallace have both started in this league before, and expect a series of intriguing and creative looks from the Niners tonight.
While the Vikings have stated they’re using this game as a measuring stick, that’s a bad idea because they’ve set the bar too high. The Niners are in a class of their own, and despite their funky quarterback rotation tonight, San Francisco’s starters will get a long look, and that’ll be enough to put this game out of reach. Ponder will struggle against the 49ers first-team defense, and expect big things from Kaepernick in his first extended game since last year’s Super Bowl. With the 49ers only laying three points at home, don’t think twice about it, and pounce on San Francisco tonight.
PICK = 49ers -3 (-110)