Live NFL football. Need I say more?
That's what will finally return to the Queen City on Friday as the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings face off in both teams' preseason opener. Fresh off of playoff berths a year ago, both franchises are looking to take the next step and go on a postseason run that has them in Super Bowl contention.
For the Bengals, simply winning a playoff game will be a major step forward, but while that cloud will be hanging over them once again, just like every team must do, they simply need to focus on the task at hand and not worry about what happens in five months.
Training camp and the preseason are part of the road to wherever the Bengals will go in the 2016 season. This is also a big step for several newcomers looking to take on impactful roles with this team. Second-round rookie receiver Tyler Boyd has been lighting it up in his first training camp, so it will be interesting to see how he does against a strong Vikings defense in his first live game action.
The same is true of other new faces like Brandon LaFell, Karlos Dansby, Nick Vigil and Cody Core perform in their first games in Bengal stripes.
Obviously of interest, the Bengals will be going up against one of the key members of their franchise's recent success. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was a big reason why the Bengals had four winning seasons and playoff berths from 2009-13. As the then-Bengals defensive coordinator, Zimmer helped build that unit from the ground up and made them one of the NFL's best defenses on an annual basis.
Even though he's now in Minnesota, Zimmer's impact is still being felt as many of the current defensive starters were brought up under his watch.
Here is everything you'll need to watch and follow these two teams square off in Week 1 of the preseason.
How to Watch Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
Date: Friday, August 12, 2016
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
TV Channel: WKRC-TV (CBS Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WKEF-TV (ABC Ch. 22) in Dayton, WSYXTV (ABC Ch. 6) in Columbus, WLIO-TV (FOX Ch. 8.2) in Lima, WDKY-TV FOX Ch. 56) in Lexington, Ky. and WDRB-TV (FOX Ch. 41) in Louisville, Ky.; Check out 506sports.com for full listings in surrounding areas
Announcers: Bengals Preseason Network coverage features Brad Johansen (play-by-play), Anthony Munoz (analyst) and Mike Valpredo (sideline reporter).
Online Stream: NFL Game Pass
Odds: Cincinnati (-2.5), Over/Under 35, via OddsShark.com