Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in about 45 minutes or so, the dulcet tones of Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will be ringing throughout the Upper Midwest and points beyond, signaling the return of the Minnesota Vikings to NFL competition. While you really can't read too much into the first pre-season game, there are a couple of things to keep an eye out for.
1) NO INJURIES. Honestly, this should be the main focus of every pre-season game. The Vikings have had a bit of bad luck over the past couple of years with the first pre-season game (Heath Farwell, Chad Greenway, etc.) Hopefully we can come out of this one without any significant bumps or bruises.
2) The battle in the secondary. . .we know that Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin are going to be your starters. From all accounts, however, there's a pretty good little four-way dance going on for the nickel job between Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp, rookie Asher Allen, and Marcus McCauley. In a couple weeks, I'm guessing one of those four guys is going to be bringing Brad Childress their playbook. This is probably make-or-break for McCauley in terms of making this roster, and we'll have to see if he can step up his game during the pre-season tilts.
3) The quarterback battle. Sage Rosenfels will start tonight, but I'm not sure how much you can really read into this one because a) the Colts aren't playing a single member of their starting secondary this evening, and b) Indy hasn't given a rip about the pre-season in a very long time.
4) How much of Percy Harvin will we see tonight, and how many different roles will we see him in?
5) Will the Vikings' punt coverage continue to stink to high heaven?
So, the regular broadcast will kick off at 6:30 PM Central time for those of you in the local area, and the re-broadcast will be on at midnight Central time on the NFL Network. There's a link to a TV feed in the FanPosts, and I'm pretty sure that KFAN will be streaming the pre-season games live.
Buckle up your chinstraps and grab your mouth guards, folks. . .it's time for Vikings football.