Much has been made of Minnesota's many offseason additions, including the acquisition of Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen and wide receiver Bernard Berrian, but what remains to be seen is if what looked so good on paper can produce on the field.
One of the central themes to the Vikings' success, of course, will be the performance of second-year starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
The Vikings coaching staff raved about Jackson's development during the offseason and he looked very good in the preseason, completing 15 of 22 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in four-plus series. But Jackson suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the Vikings' second preseason game and has not played since. Jackson has said he definitely will be ready to play against the Packers but it remains to be seen if the knee will impact his performance.
One thing going in Jackson's favor is the spotlight definitely will not be on him. The nationally televised Monday night game will mark Aaron Rodgers' first regular-season start as the Packers quarterback in place of the now-traded Brett Favre.
This should enable Jackson to fly well below the radar at Lambeau Field. Jackson, coming off a season in which he threw 12 interceptions and nine touchdowns, should have Berrian as a passing option.
Berrian missed the final three preseason games because of a toe injury but barring a setback will be ready to go. Jackson and Berrian spent time during the offseason working together but ended up playing only three preseason series together because of their injuries.
The addition of Berrian is expected to loosen up defenses and enable running back Adrian Peterson to have more room to operate. Whether the Packers immediately respect that or wait to see if Jackson and Berrian truly can stretch the field remains to be seen.
It also will be interesting to see if Jackson tries to find Berrian early to establish the pass. That is something the Vikings struggled to do on a consistent basis last season when they finished 28th in the NFL in passing offense.
One of the intriguing subplots in this game is the fact that veteran Artis Hicks is expected to start only his fourth career game at left tackle. Bryant McKinnie, who has started 89 consecutive games at that spot for the Vikings over the last six seasons, has been suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
This could make life interesting on Jackson with Hicks protecting the quarterback's blind side. The Vikings have confidence in Hicks in part because they feel he is far more suited to play on the left side then he was on the right. The Vikings used Hicks as their starting right guard in 2006 but he lost the job early last season to Anthony Herrera.
SERIES HISTORY: 95th meeting. Packers lead series, 48-45-1, and are 4-0 against the Vikings since Brad Childress took over as Minnesota's head coach in 2006. The Vikings had won three in a row against the Packers, including an NFC wild-card game in 2004, before Mike Tice was fired as their coach following the 2005 season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 27-19-1 - The Vikings' record in regular-season openers. The tie came in 1966, when the Vikings and San Francisco finished deadlocked at 20-20.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that's a policy that the league sets forth, and we honor the league's intentions. Obviously, it's the way I believe in doing business here. The accountability factor is huge. The commissioner makes no bones about that." – Vikings coach Brad Childress on the four-game suspension the NFL gave to offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie for violating its personal conduct policy.