The Minnesota Vikings are +7 for NFL odds on Sunday when they take on the San Francisco 49ers. They know that they have to face the team that probably is the best in the NFC, if not the best in the NFL at the moment, and they are going to have to play a disciplined game to be able to do it.
Discipline might be a problem, though. The Vikings have already committed 16 penalties this year, including seven against their offensive line. The 145 total yards worth of penalties in two games are killers, and against a 49ers outfit that rarely shoots itself in the foot, keeping the game clean is going to be the key.
The offensive line has some bigger problems right now, though. The rushing game, save for a long run on a reverse by Percy Harvin, has produced exactly one rush for more than nine yards in two games this season. Adrian Peterson has run the ball well at times, and he does have a very respectable 144 yards and two TDs thus far on the season. However, he hasn’t had those big, gaping holes to try to run through.
Last week against the Indianapolis Colts, a team that loves to bring pressure off of the edge the same sort of way that the 49ers will, Minnesota didn’t have a single play for more than 20 yards the whole game, and Christian Ponder was sacked four times and forced to run three others.
What’s worse this week is that the pressure is going to be worse. Aldon Smith is a lot better pass rusher than any of the best linebackers from the outside that Indy had to offer, and Ponder knows that he is going to have to get rid of the ball in a hurry and make smart decisions to have a chance in this game.
If the Vikings don’t get their act together up front, it’ll be a long, frustrating afternoon in Week 3 at the Metrodome, and the Niners will coast to their third straight victory to start the campaign.