If you take away the fact that the San Francisco 49ers won 13 games last season and put them in the same place they were in 2010, Sunday's matchup against the Minnesota Vikings might be a little more intimidating. Questions would rise about the offense and its (in)ability to deal with the Minnesota defense, while Christian Ponder might be considered a quarterback that could actually do some damage against the weak secondary.
But one thing would still be true: they're not scared of running back Adrian Peterson.
In recent years, the 49ers have been one of the best teams in the league at stopping the run. A good running back hasn't been a good worry for San Francisco in what seems like a decade. That isn't to say that they're being overlooked, it's just just that, when you simplify this game down to strength versus strength, the only outcome is a 49ers victory.
Now, it's not quite as simple as that in reality, but that's simply one key to the game. If the San Francisco defense stops Peterson, they'll force the game into Ponder's hands. It seems like Ponder is getting better and better these days, but he's still got limited weapons and the 49ers have a more-than well-equipped secondary to deal with what he's got to offer. This isn't Aaron Rodgers and this isn't Matthrew Stafford.
But again, if the 49ers are not totally prepared for Peterson, then they could pay for it. He's no Kevin Smith or [insert Green Bay running back here]. Peterson will make you pay as well as any running back in the NFL. Fortunately, if you can call Jim Harbaugh's team anything, you can call them disciplined. This should be a fun one for 49ers fans.
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