The White Elephant in this room? The fact that entire free world expects the Vikings to lose to the 49ers at the Metrodome on Sunday.
As SB Nation put it: Every national expert is picking San Francisco to win.
Even picking against the spread (as men do), Pioneer Press prognosticator Kevin Cusick sees this one as a blowout. PiPress columnist Tom Powers equates it to the Battle of Thermopyle, and hopes the Vikings can make like the Greeks of 480 B.C. and come up with that moral victory.
Yep, it's a bit of a buzzkill. So why should we pay attention? Why not enjoy the forecast high of 65 degrees (under partly cloudy skies) instead of going to the game or watching it on TV?
Well, we love the optimism of the seemingly superhuman Adrian Peterson. AP told the Star Tribune that he doesn't think the 49ers have faced a run-attack offense "like we have," and says that could "switch things up."
Also, you can boo the heck out of Randy Moss if you feel like it. But, we admit, that might not be that much fun now that Moss is suddenly acting like an adult, telling the San Francisco media Wednesday that he "looks forward to a good game" and wants to be "the best 49er I can be." Sigh. What happened to this fun guy?:
Other storylines to follow? Vikings.com writer Mike Wobschall lists nine we should focus on. Most hopeful for Purple fans? No. 8: The Dome Field Advantage. If it gets loud, watch out Niners! But if S.F. gets ahead by 20 points in the first half, it could be a quiet afternoon.
Finally, "Tark Talk" -- the video blog Francis Albert Tarkenton does for the Pioneer Press. His take? Anything can happen: