To prepare for Sunday's game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings, I asked Jackson McIntire from Daily Norseman five questions about the Vikings and the game on Sunday.
1. How much of the Vikings' offensive struggles in Week 1 can be attributed to the loss of John Sullivan?
The loss of John Sullivan certainly had a huge effect on the Vikings' offensive struggles in Week 1. Sullivan excels at pre-snap reads and diagnosing where the blitz will be coming from. With Joe Berger at center, there was a clear downgrade in this aspect, as well as a downgrade from a blocking standpoint as Teddy was under constant pressure throughout the night.
2. How big of a disappointment was the Vikings run defense in Week 1? Was it an aberration or did the 49ers expose a flaw in Minnesota's defense?
The run defense in Week 1 was an embarrassment. However, I do think it can be fixed. The main issue was defensive ends and linebackers not setting the edge and allowing cutbacks for Hyde. I think the defense will be motivated to offset last week's struggles and will turn in a solid effort this Sunday against the Lions.
3. How has Mike Wallace adapted to his new team?
Despite a slow start to the preseason for Wallace, he looked good throughout the offseason program and came out in Week 1 with a solid effort despite the offense's struggles. There was a blatant pass interference on a beautifully thrown deep ball to Wallace in the end zone on Monday that dubiously did not result in a flag being thrown. In time, I am confident that the deep ball to Wallace will become a staple of our offense.
4. What was the biggest silver lining from Monday night's game against the 49ers?
Despite the lopsided score, there were a few silver linings to take away from Monday night's game, perhaps none bigger than the solid play of maligned left tackle Matt Kalil. The former top-5 pick's play fell off a cliff the last two years after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and after finishing the offseason on a good note, his performance in Week 1 has provided some optimism for the Viking fan base. Another silver lining was the great play of linebacker Anthony Barr. While he didn't record a sack he was chasing Kaepernick around all night and made 12 tackles.
5. What is it going to take for Blair Walsh to lose his job? Do the Vikings have a backup plan ready?
The tricky thing here is that Walsh just signed a big money deal (For a kicker) this offseason with guaranteed money. Ever since signing this deal, he has looked absolutely awful. The Vikings currently do not have a backup plan ready which is very worrisome to this fan base. For Walsh to officially lose his job, I think it will take something big. For example, Vikings down 7 with a minute left and score a touchdown only to have Walsh miss the extra point. Or, if he is still missing roughly a field goal a game come mid-season, something could and should be done about it.