By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The first week of the regular season for the NFL is finally here.

And while so much of the focus has been on the Minnesota Vikings, it is easy to forget they are playing a team on the rise — the San Francisco 49ers.

Week one for the Vikings is also week one for Kirk Cousins. He understands that there is a magnifying glass on him. For this is the regular season.

“The only difference is obviously the fact that this is the first one that counts in a long time,” Cousins said. “As a result, there’s going to be some excitement, some nerves, and you just have to kind of work through that in the first quarter and settle in, and just play ball like you always have.”

And the Vikings have a certain swagger, which comes with playing as well as they did last season. That is what they hope carries over this season.

“It started with practice, the whole training camp. We was grinding, putting in work,” said running back Dalvin Cook. “The preseason showed what we can do in the running game, so it got off to a good start. We just got to continue through week one.”

Maybe it is a good that the Vikings open with the 49ers, a team that struggled last season — or did they? See, at the end of the year, they had a new quarterback and they were playing pretty good football. So, they might be pretty good this Sunday.

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan figured it out, and that is what they anticipate they will see on Sunday.

“What Shanahan has done, he’s done a really nice job of implementing the offense, and they get better throughout the course of the season,” Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. “They probably implemented the defense, they’ve gotten better throughout the season. Now they’ve got carryover for this year, so I would think that would be big.”

We will find out, soon enough.

Mike Max

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