Football is finally back. The 2015 Hall of Fame game between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers kicks off this Sunday, August 9th at 8:00 PM ET. The Vikings are a 2.5-point NFL preseason betting favorite over the Steelers. Both squads will play five preseason games, compared to the four the other 30 teams will play.
The Minnesota Vikings are playing in their third HOF game and boast a 2-1 record. Their first HOF game eded in a 14-3 loss against the Saints. Then they defeated the Baltimore Colts in 1982 and the Seattle Seahawks in 1997. Vikings will most likely be without the services of NFL fantasy football’s top pick Adrian Peterson who isn’t expected to take the field against the Steelers. He missed all but one game last season due to his infamous suspension, but starts 2015 with a new contract in tow.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not only opening the preseason this year, they are also kicking off the regular season when they face the New England Patriots on Thursday, Sept. 10th. This is the Steelers’ sixth HOF game appearance, and they have a 3-2 record. They defeated the Cleveland Browns in 1963, the Saints in both 1983 and 2007. The two losses came to the Baltimore Colts in 1964 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1998.
Analyzing The Pittsburgh Steelers V Minnesota Vikings Hall Of Fame Game 2015 Spread, Stats & TV Schedule
Hall of Fame Game: Pittsburgh Steelers V Minnesota Vikings
Date: Sunday, August 9, 2015
Start Time: 8:00 PM ET
Location: Canton, Ohio
Stadium: Fawcett Stadium
Odds: Vikings -2.5
Game Total: 34.5
Radio: Minnesota vs Pittsburgh
TV Info: NBC
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
With superstar RB Adrian Peterson (279 att, 1266 yards, 10 TDs in 2013) back on the field and with a goal of 2500 yards on his mind the Vikings might be the sleeper Super Bowl 50 pick to bet on early. AP will be backed up by RB Matt Asiata (164 att, 570 yards, 9 TDs). He led the team in rushing in 2014, but will be will now be the change of pace back for the Vikings offense.
The Vikings hope that second-year QB Teddy Bridgewater (2919 yards, 14 TDs & 12 INTS) will avoid the dreaded sophomore slump after a stellar rookie year under center where he lead his team to nine wins. I expect Bridgewater to play at least the first series for the coaching staff to gauge his off-season development.
Bridgewater’s top target will be newcomer WR Mike Wallace (67 rec, 862 yards, 10 TDs in Miami), who was cut by the Dolphins after a sub-par outing in 2014. The return of TE Kyle Rudolph (53 rec, 493 yards, 9 TDs in 2012) will also help Bridgewater, but he’s not expected to have much playing time until NFL preseason week 3. Keep an eye on how WR Stefon Diggs (drafted in the 5th round from Maryland) is used. Bridgewater has heaped praise the rookie’s way during the early stages of training camp.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 4, 2015
"To be a young guy, he’s showing what it takes to play in this league and we’re glad to have him,” Bridgewater said. "He comes in and he works,” Bridgewater said, via the Pioneer Press. "Diggs has a group of (receivers) in front of him who set a great example. … He comes out every day and he just competes.”
The Vikings defense finished last season ranked 7th. This D has a ton of potential with young defenders such as Sharrif Floyd, Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes. The addition of veteran CB Terence Newman at gives the defense instant swagger. The biggest story from training camp so far has been battle for who will be the starting safety. Expect candidates Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, and Antone Exum Jr to make an impact in the 2015 NFL pre-season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are turning over a new leaf. Usually known for their defense, this team is now an offensive juggernaut with top tier talent at QB, RB and WR.
QB Ben Roethlisberger (4952 yards, 32 TDs & 9 INTs) finished the season tied with Drew Brees for the most passing yards last season. His top target WR Antonio Brown (129 rec, 1698 yards, 13 TDs) led the league in receiving yards. Rusher Le’Veon Bell (290 att, 1361 yards, 8 TDs) finished second in rushing yards.
Don’t expect any of this trio to see much action in this 2015 HOF game matchup. The Steelers will test drive RBs Josh Harris and DeAngelo Williams (62 att, 219 yards, 0 TDs with the Carolina Panthers) with Bell’s impending 2 game suspension.
Pittsburgh also announced WR Martavis Bryant (26 rec, 549 yards, 8 TDs) underwent a procedure Sunday for an infected elbow, and it’s likely he will be a no-go for the game against the Vikings on Sunday.
ìHe should be back to us sooner than later, head coach Mike Tomlin said. ìBut it will be a couple days to make sure that’s behind him.î
The biggest issue for Tomlin during the 2015 pre-season will be how to build a championship defense after the departure of long time DC Dick LeBeau. This defense also got a lot younger with the departure of longtime fan favorite Troy Polamalu and smart drafting. Tomlin will want to give some of his young guns more reps. Stephon Tuitt, Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier have been in the league for three years or less and will be starters soon.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 4, 2015
Minnesota’s head coach Mike Zimmer is 4-0 during the preseason, winning all his game last season. Pittsburgh Mike Tomlin is 20-13 in preseason matchups and 1-0 in the Hall of Fame Game.