Rejoice NFL Fans! In less than one week, your beloved game will return in all it’s glory. Okay, maybe glory isn’t the right way to describe the NFL’s Hall of Fame game. Still, it will be nice to see some familiar faces on the field, when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings in Canton (8:00 PM Eastern), even it is for just a series.
Regardless of the quality of play this game, NFL fans will want to tune in for their first glimpse at Adrian Peterson after almost a year. Suspended for the final 15 games of last year and entering the season at the ripe ol’ age of 30, it sounds like All Day is playing as good as ever. The Vikings have high hopes entering this year and the bruising running back will be a big part of how far this youthful team can go.
The Steelers meanwhile will be looking for a runningback to step up. LeVeon Bell managed to get his suspension reduced, but the star offensive weapon is still going to miss the first two weeks. The Steelers will want to get a look at veteran DeAngelo Williams, to see if his legs are still up-to-par.
Pittsburgh also enters this season with concerns on the defensive side of the ball. Sunday will provide the first opportunity for rookies like first-round pick Bud Dupree and second-rounder Senquez Golson to show they deserve consideration for a starter role; and for longtime backups Shamarko Thomas and Cortez Allen to prove they can replace departed legends Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor.
Even if the starting defense does perform well, the Steelers don’t look to be burdened with too much depth on that side of the ball. Meanwhile, the Vikings backup QB is a fourteen-year veteran in Shaun Hill, and their third-string running back Jerick McKinninon went for 538 yards on the ground last year, and will want to prove he still deserves carries.
If this were a regular season game, the Steelers should be the favorites thanks to that powerful offense. But in a game where the backups will decide the final score, Minnesota should come out on top.
Pick: Vikings (-2.5).
(Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)