Inspired by the ever-present and official Vikings.com and their five storylines to watch for going into week one, we have decided to fearlessly plunge into a similar venture.
Rather than give you storylines, we're going to give you the musts for Minnesota, the five things the Vikings can't live without doing if they want to win.
This week's big five:
1. MAKE DETROIT ONE DIMENSIONAL: Detroit is known for their explosive passing attack. Matthew Stafford was second in the league in yards last year and Calvin Johnson broke the all-time receiving mark for a single season (1,964 yards). Against the Vikings, that doesn't matter.
Last year Stafford and Megatron torched the Vikings to the tune of 648 yards for Stafford and 261 for Johnson (his most versus any team). Their running game? 115 yards combined. As long as backfield newcomer Reggie Bush doesn't force an eighth Viking into the box, opening up the passing game, it's clear that the linebackers and defensive backs (led by Chris Cook on Johnson) may bend, but won't break and allow game-changing plays against this powerful passing game.
2. GET PRESSURE ON STAFFORD: Last year in their first matchup, Stafford was sacked five times and the Lions offense looked the worst it did all year. Defensive end Everson Griffen and d-tackle Latroy Guion put up two sacks each in that one, and Griffen added one more on Detroit later in the season. Kevin Williams got the other in their second matchup, someone we may not see this Sunday.
3. GET AP GOING: This goes without saying, but Adrian Peterson is the most important piece to this offense, specifically in the division. AP lit up the NFC North for 936 yards, 273 of which were against Detroit. Christian Ponder threw zero interceptions in the two games the Vikings took on Detroit in 2012, largely in part to Peterson's presence keeping teams honest.
4. WIDE RECEIVER PRODUCTION: Kyle Rudolph is a known commodity in the middle of the field for Minnesota, catching seven balls in the Vikings second win over Detroit last year. There is no known commodity on the outside for Minnesota. Greg Jennings has a solid history as an impact receiver in the league, but an injury plagued 2012 and a quiet preseason have some wondering what he has left. The receivers caught only 14 balls combined last year in the two Detroit games. They must get open and Christian Ponder must find them when they are if the Vikings are to have a truly effective offense, even if that's only five or six times a game.
5. PRODUCE ON SPECIAL TEAMS: The only reason the Vikings won their week four game against Detroit last year was special teams. 20 points, all of them coming from returns (Harvin, Sherels) or Blair Walsh field goals (49, 27). Sherels is back, Harvin is not, Walsh's leg still has a trampoline attached to it. That first game last year showed the offense can be downright disgusting, and you can still win games. Special teams was the reason for that.