The third pre-season game is generally considered the dress rehearsal for most teams, well, I guess not every team...but it will be for the Vikings. There was a significant improvement from week one to last week, and with the promising showing of some players on both sides of the ball, here's what I'll be looking for.
After the jump.
1. Who Will The Third Running Back Be? Last week the Vikings wanted to see how fullback Matt Asiata would do running as a halfback. He stood out as the only backup that has impressed so far, as neither Rex Hilliard nor Jordan Todman have stood out. Is it even possible that Asiata could be named the third running back if he has another strong performance? I don't know, but it's an intriguing option.
2. The Turk Cometh For Devin Aromashodu? One of the most hotly contested roster spots for the Vikings this year have been the down roster spots at the wide receiver position, and if this were a game of musical chairs, right now the DA would be standing as the music is stopping. He's really struggled, as he hasn't caught a pass, dropped a couple catchable balls, and has been really unimpressive. Barring a really big game from him tonight, I think he could be among the first roster cuts.
3. Speaking Of Wide Receivers...The pecking order for who the top three guys will be while Jerome Simpson is suspended could very well be settled tonight. We know Percy Harvin is a lock, and I think Michael Jenkins is safe. That means it comes down to Stephen Burton, Manny Arcenaux, and Jarius Wright--assuming DA is out. Right now, I'm going to go with Burton, who's been better than Arcenaux. Jarius Wright just hasn't stood out at all, so he'll need a huge game to get back into the conversation.
4. Has The Tire Fire In The Secondary Been Put Out? Last week I was encouraged, for the most part, with the secondary play. Chris Cook won't play, so this will be a good opportunity for rookie Josh Robinson to step up, and Chris Carr will get another opportunity to do something. Anything. Because when I said 'encouraged for the most part', he was the reason I had to put that qualifying statement in there.
5. Steer Clear Of Injuries: AP isn't playing, which I'm fine with, so that means let's not overuse Toby Gerhart. If the Vikes can get guys like Cook and John Carlson healthy for week one, they are going to be a lot better than folks think. They can't afford any serious injuries, though, especially for a guy like Cook, who will be a key component for the secondary this year.
So that's what I'll be looking for. What about you guys?