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NFL Hall of Fame Game: Steelers vs. Vikings

The 2015 NFL preseason is finally here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings will kick off the preseason with an exhibition game during the Hall of Fame weekend. NFL fans have been eagerly awaiting this game, not because it has any real significance, but because it means that the start of the regular season is getting close.

The Minnesota Vikings will be trying to build on the progress they made last season, after they were able to finish with a 7-9 record, despite not having Adrian Peterson for most of the year, since he was suspended after the first week of the season because of a domestic charge. The Vikings struggled early in the season, but started to turn things around after starting rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who showed that he has what it takes to be a very good quarterback in this league. 

The team is hoping that Bridgewater continues to improve as a player, and Peterson is still the dominant player that won the NFL MVP award three seasons ago. If both players perform as expected, the Vikings will be a very tough team to beat. The Vikings also added more fire power in the offseason, with the acquisition of Mike Wallace, who gives them a deep threat that they haven’t had since Percy Harvin was still wearing the purple and gold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will also be trying to build on last season’s success, and prove that they are still relevant in the AFC. Last season, Ben Roethlisberger threw for a career high 4,952 yards, which is a departure from the regular Steelers offensive strategy of running the ball. It worked out very well for them, because they were able to win the AFC North, and as the season wore on, LeVeon Bell showed that he was a very good running back, but he got hurt prior to the playoffs. With a healthy Bell in the lineup this season, there is a lot of optimism in the Steel City this year.

Pittsburgh will have a tough challenge in their division this year, because the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals got better in the offseason, and the Cleveland Browns are a good quarterback away from being relevant again.

The starters for both teams will see limited action in this game, in order to keep them healthy for the start of the season. Leveon Bell will likely sit this one out, since he is still recovering from the season ending knee injury he suffered last year, and they don’t want him to aggravate it again. Veteran starters like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, will likely play only a quarter. Their defensive starters will get some extra time on the field, especially the rookies, who still have to prove themselves.

The Vikings will take a similar approach, but Teddy Bridgewater will likely stay in the game longer than Ben Roethlisberger, and Adrian Peterson might play more than a quarter, just to get him back in football shape before the start of the season.

Betting Odds and Predictions.

The odds for both teams are currently even, which means you have to pick a winner in this game.

My Pick: The skill position players on the Vikings haven’t played together yet, so Mike Zimmer will likely have them on the field longer than Mike Tomlin will keep his starters, giving the Vikings the edge to win this game.