In last year's pre-season opener for the Minnesota Vikings, the playing time situation was a little weird, as the first-team offense. . .and, in something that generated much discussion, quarterback Christian Ponder. . .was on the field for two plays, one of which was an interception.
If you're expecting something similar on Friday night in the first game for new Vikings' head coach Mike Zimmer. . .well, it isn't happening.
"I told the team last night if they make me happy, I make them happy," Zimmer said. "They get to take the shoulder pads off today."
Zimmer was more vague about the first-team's workload for Friday night's preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium.
"I told (players) be ready to play the whole game if I feel like it," he said, however remote the possibility.
Now, does anybody really think that the Vikings' starters are going to play the entire game? Of course not. But just the fact that it's been mentioned is a stark contrast to what we saw last season.
One guy who will not be playing the entire game is running back Adrian Peterson. That's because he isn't going to be playing at all. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. . .Peterson isn't getting any younger, and he really doesn't need any pre-season "reps" to be ready for Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams. I realize that the tenor of the entire offense is different without #28 on the field, but I think we'd all rather he not be on the field in meaningless exhibition games than have him not be on the field when the games matter.
On the other hand, Zimmer also said that he expects rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to "play very well." As Ted mentioned yesterday, Norv Turner has said that he wants to see Bridgewater with the first-team offense on Friday, and I anticipate that we'll see that. I don't know how many series Matt Cassel and Bridgewater will see, but it's something that we're going to be watching.
We'll have to keep an ear open for what the coaches say after the Wednesday afternoon practice, as it will be the last one the media has access to before Friday night's game. Hopefully we'll get a few more insights on what Friday night will hold.