Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 8/11/12

The Minnesota Vikings will open up their preseason against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park tonight.

The Vikings had a much different season than the 9ers did last year.  The 9ers went 12-4 as they advanced as far the NFC Conference Championship.  Quarterback Alex Smith had a career year as he threw 17 touchdowns and had career highs in yards, completion percentage and quarterback rating.  He also had a career low of five interceptions.

The Vikings, on the other hand, had a very opposite year.  The Vikings went a franchise worst 3-13 as they never had a chance of making the playoffs.  Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder had flashes of brilliance and will look to build upon that.  Both teams have room to improve, the Vikings just have more room.

While this is just preseason and it really doesn't mean anything, it is important that Ponder gets out on the right foot.  He needs to take command of the offense and get them in a rhythm quickly.  He will be doing this without the help of Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson as he is still recovering from the ACL injury he sustained last year.  Toby Gerhart will start in his place after he had a solid second year rushing for 531 yards and one touchdown.

The Vikings are going to be heavily outmatched, but, like mentioned before, it is the preseason.  Look for Ponder to come out swinging, he has a lot to prove and Vikings fans expect a lot out of him.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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