By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings are slated to open the regular NFL season Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. But instead of talking to former athletes or football experts about the game, Jason DeRusha headed to Como Zoo to get some insight on tigers.

He spoke with Hans Jorgensen, the large cat keeper at the zoo, about the striped cats. While the St. Paul zoo doesn’t keep any Bengal tigers, it does have Amur (or Siberian) Tigers, which are better suited to Minnesota’s cold climate. “There are about 500 Amur tigers left in the wild,” Jorgensen said.

(credit: CBS)

One of the zoo’s tigers, an 8-year-old male named Tsar, was tapped to make a prediction for Sunday’s game. Two boxes — one for the Vikings and one for the Bengals — were placed in the tiger enclosure. When set loose, he went straight for the Bengals box, and hardly sniffed at the Vikings box nearby.

When Jorgensen lobbed a football into the enclosure, Tsar quickly secured the ball. “He’s offense and defense,” Jorgensen said. “You’re not getting that from him.”

Tsar’s behavior does not bode well for the Vikings. The team is scheduled to face the Bengals in Cincinnati at noon.