Alright, ladies and gentlemen. . .in a couple of hours, we'll finally be able to behold the sight of Minnesota Vikings' football on the turf at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
(Or, in my case, I'll be listening to it on the internet somewhere. . .and THEN watching the replay on the NFL Network at 10:30 PM Central time. Either way, it's FOOTBALL, by God.)
The starters are expected to play about a quarter tonight, which is standard for the first pre-season game of the year. I'm not sure how much we, or anybody, will be able to gather from that one quarter of play, but there are a few things I'll definitely be keeping an eye on.
1) How will the passing offense look?
From all accounts, the Vikings are going to come out throwing in tonight's game, and so they should. The rush game is already the NFL's best, and the Vikings' offensive success this season is going to hinge a lot on what Tarvaris Jackson and company can do throwing the football. Hopefully, Jackson will be putting somewhere between 12-15 passes in the air tonight during his quarter of work.
2) Offensive right tackle
Apparently there's some competition going on for the starting right tackle spot between incumbent starter Ryan Cook and Marcus Johnson. Cook will get the start tonight, but we'll have to see how Johnson is looking as well. It would be nice to finally get some sort of contribution out of Johnson. . .it won't save the 2005 draft from having been a complete disaster, but it would still be nice.
3) The defensive line
Everyone's going to be watching the Four Norseman of the Apocalypse during the time they're in there, and I won't be any different. This is the best and most talented defensive line this team has had in at least a decade, and will hopefully make the rest of the defense that much better.
Hopefully both teams can come out of this one injury-free. I hate seeing injuries in the pre-season. Speaking of injuries, it looks like Marcus McCauley (knee), Garrett Mills (ankle), and Brian Robison (leg) will be the only Vikings that are unavailable for this evening's game.
Buckle up, folks. . .Vikings football is just a couple of hours away!