10 Things To Look For

Emmitt Thomas' defense hopes to answer a lot of questions positively in the season opener, but there is more to look for than defense against Carolina.

Since top-10 lists are everywhere, why not start the season out with the top 10 things to look for in the Vikings' season opener? Here they are:

10) Is the offensive line really coming together or was it just preseason defenses being kind? Can Brad Badger be consistent at left tackle and Chris Liwienski at right tackle? And how will their timing be with the likes of Michael Bennett and Doug Chapman?

9) Linebacker Patrick Chukwurah. Is he for real? Is he the long-term answer and the start of another mid-round draft pick blossoming early and becoming a star?

8) Chris Walsh becoming the all-time leader for special teams tackles with two more. He currently has 119, trailing only Walker Lee Ashley's 120 for the team's all-time record.

7) Fred Robbins or Shawn Worthen? Does it really matter, as long as the Vikings find a nose tackle to really hold the point? And will that improved defensive line result in more turnovers for the more aggressive secondary and linebacker corps?

6) Will Cris Carter and Jimmy Hitchcock rehash old times, thinking about their fun talk at Lambeau Field after Hitchcock was undressed by Carter on the field for letting a Packers receiver get behind him in the end zone late in a game three years ago?

5) Look for someone to take over the role formerly held by Dwayne Rudd for celebrating after holding the opponent to a 6-yard run.

4) Daunte Culpepper moving into a fifth-place tie with Randall Cunningham with six 300-yard passing games as a Viking.

3) Carter moving up on the NFL's all-time touchdown list. He has 124, good for sixth place, with Walter Payton at 125 and Jim Brown at 126.

2) Moss getting a number of records. With a 100-yard receiving game he would move into a second-place tie with Anthony Carter with 22 games. With a catch of 40 yards or more would assume sole control of first place in Vikings history with 30 catches of 40 or more yards. And with a catch of 50 or more he would take sole possession of first in that category with 15 such plays.

1) Vikings fans having the pleasure of hearing, "False start, Carolina, number 75 (Todd Steussie).

* All the deactivations will be announced two hours before game time. For that information and more, we will start having a chat from the Metrodome before game time at home games. Join VU editor Tim Yotter for a half-hour chat from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Central to answer your questions. We will form a private room, the "Viking Update Insider" room with a password of vikingupdate inside the main chat room. You can get into the main chat room by hitting the "Chat" link on the left navigation bar. Eventually this feature and some other interactive features will be something for premium subscribers only, but join in free now while the getting is good.
* Hall of Fame tackle Ron Yary will enter the Vikings Ring of Fame at halftime of today's game and will be presented his Hall of Fame ring.
* The Vikings are expected to make this the last game for a while where they feature a presentation on plaza for their stadium proposal.
* Replacement refs will be making their debut after the union rejected the NFL's offer to increase the NFL officials' salaries by 60 percent this year and by 200 percent by 2003. How badly will it affect the game? We'll find out.

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