The third pre-season game is supposed to be the most important one, as the starters get the most time and teams actually start game-planning a little bit. However, there are still players that bear watching even if they're not penciled into the Opening Day starting lineup. Let's take a look at some of those players, shall we?
Chris Carr/Josh Robinson, cornerbacks: Technically, Carr is getting the start tonight because Chris Cook has been shut down for the rest of the pre-season with concussion issues. However, this is really a battle for the nickel CB spot. The Vikings' defense has allowed four touchdowns this pre-season, and you could make the argument that half of them have been on Carr. He gave up a touchdown pass in the opener against the 49ers, and had a really bad missed tackle on Donald Jones' 31-yard catch-and-run last week against the Bills. Robinson, in limited duty, has looked pretty good, and he's shown the speed that got him drafted in the third round. It appears that the rookie is going to give the veteran a serious challenge for the nickel corner spot. . .a position that figures to get a lot of time with the pass-happy offenses in the NFC North.Andrew Sendejo, safety: Sendejo probably doesn't figure into the mix as a potential starter at safety, as it appears that Harrison Smith and Mistral Raymond will be the starters at those spots (even though the Vikings are apparently going to start Jamarca Sanford at safety tonight). But Sendejo is making a big play for a spot on special teams, a spot that has been occupied for the past couple of seasons by fellow safety Eric Frampton. He's also looked fairly decent during the time he has received at the safety position. . .and, as we all know, "fairly decent" would be a huge upgrade from what the Vikings had there last season. Sendejo could find himself on the active roster unless Frampton really. . .wait for it. . .wait for it. . .comes alive.
(Yes, we're going to keep using that joke until Frampton isn't on the roster any longer. Hopefully you feel like I do.)
Devin Aromashodu, receiver: You know which Vikings' receiver has had the most passes thrown his direction this pre-season? According to 1500 ESPN, it's Aromashodu with nine. Do you know how many catches Aromashodu has this pre-season? Yes, he has the same number of catches as you or I do. . .zero. That's not a great ratio. Yes, I know that not every pass thrown in his direction has been catchable, but he's had some opportunities to make catches and hasn't done so. If he doesn't get off the proverbial schneid in this game, he might find himself out of a job before too much longer.
Jordan Todman, running back: From everything I can see about tonight's game, Todman should finally see his first game action of the pre-season against the Chargers. Lex Hilliard has held down the duties as the #3 running back during the first couple of games, and he has some additional value as a special teamer. Todman, on the other hand, represents much more of a change of pace to Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart than Hilliard does. However, as the old saying goes, "you can't make the club in the tub." Tonight will be Todman's chance to make an impression, and if he wants to leapfrog Hilliard on the depth chart, he's going to have to make it a good one.
There are five non-starters for you to keep an eye on for this evening's contest. Is there anyone else that you'll be watching more closely this evening?