Welcome to our first installment of “10 reasons the Vikings will win.” Expect this series to continue on Fridays during the season. Likewise, look for a more disturbing "10 reasons the Vikings will lose" every Thursday.
10. Clutch kicking
Blair Walsh kicking indoors is a very good thing. Plus, history suggests he really likes kicking inside the Edward Jones Dome. In 2012, Walsh kicked five field goals against the Rams, including three from beyond 50 yards. NFL.com predicts two 50-plus-yard field goals for Walsh in a 26-20 Vikings victory.
9. Matt Kalil aiming for greatness
The third-year left tackle admits he had a down year in 2013, but much of his slump had to do with a left knee injury.
"I think the biggest problem I had was kicking sideways, rather than kicking back, because I didn't trust my knee to get me back there," Kalil told ESPN.com. "I'm doing it now, and my knee's fine. It's just a mental block. It takes a while. It's not going to be overnight when your knee was messed up all last year."
He'll spend most of his Sunday matched up with Robert Quinn, who finished second in the NFL with 19 1/2 sacks last season.
8. No more quarterback carousel
Almost every week of last season featured another game of Musical Quarterbacks. Ponder, Cassel, Freeman, Cassel, Ponder, Ponder, Cassel, etc. It was brutal. Matt Cassel is the starting quarterback, and he knows that he doesn't have to be looking over his shoulder for rookie Teddy Bridgewater.
Mike Zimmer gave Cassel a nod of confidence this week by saying he won't have a "quick hook" if Cassel struggles early.
For the record: Cassel was a Pro Bowl player in 2010 with the Chiefs. Todd Haley, an offensive-minded coach and Charlie Weis, an offensive guru in his own right, helped Cassel lead a potent Chiefs offense that season. Norv Turner could have the same kind of impact on Cassel this year.
7. Vikings are loaded with playmakers
Even Rams head coach Jeff Fisher admitted Minnesota has a stable filled with offensive talent. Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph...
6. Shaun Hill isn't very good
Let's be honest. Shaun Hill starting at quarterback isn't a good thing for any team. He's a 34-year-old journeyman career backup. We're sure Sam Bradford's torn ACL is painful and saddening, but was he nearly crying on Thursday because of his injury or because he has to spend the next six months watching Hill?
5. Bringing the Zimmer blitz
Bleacher Report thinks Mike Zimmer will blitz the Rams a lot on Sunday.
"Pre-snap alignments like this will wreak havoc on Hill and the St. Louis offensive line, because Hill must be prepared to do a variety of things with the football as soon as he gets a true look at the blitz.
"On this exact play, Zimmer overloads one side of the formation but brings only five rushers. However, the clever scheme gets a back isolated on a defender, and the offensive line can’t slide their protection because there’s now a threat in every gap. Creating these mismatches will speed up Hill’s mental clock exponentially."
4. Because this dog says so
3. Best return man in the NFL
Cordarrelle Patterson is his name and returning kicks for touchdowns is his game. When Patterson saw Rams head coach Jeff Fisher during the offseason, he told the coach to kick him the ball.
"I told him, 'Just make sure you kick me the ball, man.' And I told him, 'Just be ready.' So I'm ready for that," he said, according to FOX Sports North.
But it sounds like Fisher doesn't plan on kicking Patterson the ball.
"If you want to create problems for yourself, you give him a returnable ball," Fisher said. "The more balls you can kick out of the end zone, the better off you are."
2. Talented receivers against a terrible secondary
Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph could be feasting on a brutal St. Louis secondary. The Daily Norseman says there isn't a cornerback or safety in St. Louis that can match up with Patterson and Jennings.
1. Adrian Peterson doesn't like the Rams
The Rams got under Peterson's skin in 2012 when members of the St. Louis defense were chirping at him after six of his first eight carries went for negative yards. Word to the wise: Don't poke the bear. Peterson got angry and took his ninth carry 82 yards for a touchdown. There wasn't much talking after that.
“What I do remember about that game is that it’s first time in eight years, I’ve ever talked off to players,” Peterson said, via the Star Tribune. “Those guys had me so hot, like I haven’t ever been that mad playing football.”