Thomas should excel for Saints at Vikings
Receiver will see plenty of the ball
Sky Sports Main Event/Action, 12.10am Monday night
Minneapolis is the venue for the first match of a Monday night double-header and marks a swift return for legendary running back Adrian Peterson to the city where he made his name.
Now 32, Peterson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in seven of ten seasons at the Vikings - his record in one season was 2,097 yards in 2012 - and he has moved to New Orleans looking for a new lease of life.
However, he has had injury-hit campaigns in two of the last three seasons and it will be worth waiting to see what sort of contribution he can make these days.
The Vikings' preparations for this season have been a lot less chaotic than they were this time last year when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's campaign was ended before it started and Sam Bradford was introduced at the last minute.
A 8-8 season was creditable in the circumstances and there is potential for the young team to push on this season, with much expected of rookie running back Dalvin Cook while former Oakland rusher Latavius Murray has also been added to the roster.
The defence is also good enough to suggest they can be pushing for the NFC North title this year.
As for the Saints, an injury-free season is likely to see Drew Brees around the top of the passing charts again, but he has lost receiver Brandin Cooks, who has signed for Super Bowl champions New England.
They have been the punters' pals on the road with an uncanny knack of being able to cover the handicap in their away matches, but their defence has been a concern for a few years and it puts a big burden on Brees to help steer the team to gain more points than they concede.
He has been great at doing this but needs help, so expect receiver Michael Thomas to play a dominant role at the venue for Super Bowl LII.
Thomas had a fine rookie season for the Saints after being drafted from Ohio State and the 24-year-old looks to have bags of potential.
He had virtually the same number of receptions as Cooks last season and now his colleague has departed, it seems realistic that he will see even more of the ball this term.
Thomas scored nine touchdowns last season and while he comes up against a defence that was ranked third against the pass in 2016, Brees will ensure the Vikings are tested and his best receiver can make his mark early on.
M Thomas to score a touchdown
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet
Defensive end Brian Robison has recovered from a groin injury and is available. Former Arizona wide receiver Michael Floyd is suspended for the first four games of the season. Cornerback Tramaine Brock (groin) is struggling to be fit.
Offensive tackle Terron Armstead is ruled out with a shoulder injury so rookie Ryan Ramczyk starts at left tackle.
New Orleans have covered the handicap in eight of their last ten away matches.
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