49ers Week 1 Outlook: 5 Things To Look For Against The Vikings

The San Francisco 49ers will host the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener on Monday night, and the Niners are hoping to get off to a good start under new head coach Jim Tomsula. Here are five things to look for in the matchup:

5) Can the offensive line turn things around?

The 49ers' offense line should be Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Marcus Martin, Jordan Devey, and Erik Pears, a unit that produced inconsisted results (at best) during the preseason. It's a good thing Colin Kaepernick is a mobile QB, because he might be running around a lot.

4) How much has Colin Kaepernick improved in the pocket?

While he will rely on his legs, the 49ers' season largely depends on Kaepernick's improvement as a passer. Those on the ground watching 49ers camp over the past few weeks have marvelled about just how quick Colin Kaepernick is cycling through his progressions. While it's too early to judge whether that's going to fully translate to regular season action, things look promising when it comes to one of Kaepernick's weak points as a passer.

3) Jarryd Hayne's debut

Hayne's outstanding production in the preseason - both in the backfield and in the return game - allowed him to make the transition from rugby to the NFL, creating one of the more intriguing storylines of the NFL's opening weekend.

2) Can Carlos Hyde take over for Frank Gore?

Reggie Bush is getting plenty of publicity in training camp, but he'll likely only get about 10 carries per game. The way reps have been divvied out in camp, expect Hyde to be the unquestioned feature back and to be the between-the-tackles yin to Reggie Bush's stretch-rush yang.

1) Can NaVorro Bowman return to his old form?

Bowman was one of the best linebackers in the NFL before suffering a nasty knee injury in the NFC Championship Game that cost him all of the 2014 season. San Francisco needs him to return to form quickly given the unexpected retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Boreland.

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