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Vikings kick preseason off against Denver

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Here’s three key things to watch for on Saturday night.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings-Training Camp Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally that time for you to show your horns. That’s right, Vikings football is finally ready to kick-off come Saturday night. I know some people brush it off as “ohh it’s just the preseason, it doesn’t mean anything.” Well, I beg to differ.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the preseason is exciting for the simple fact that there are players who are fighting for jobs. It’s fun seeing that type of competitiveness come out in players.

The Vikings will begin to knock the rust off against the Broncos in Denver. Here are three things to pay attention to throughout the game:

3. Kicker competition

I’m not to sure on how they plan to divvy up the playing time between veteran Kai Forbath and rookie Daniel Carlson, but I expect both to play.

This will be Forbath’s third season with the Vikings. He only played in seven games in 2016 after Blair Walsh was let go (for obvious reasons). He has been consistent for the most part. He has a success rate of 88.6 percent, missing only six field goals in his 23 regular-season games with Minnesota.

Carlson is looking to add some competition and give Forbath a run for his money. This young rook seems like he had a decent college career, especially being the first kicker drafted this season at 167th overall. He was Southeastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Year in both his junior and senior season.

This kid has never missed a point after attempt in his collegiate career. His best season came his junior year when he kicked 28-of-32 field goals. He is ranked 2nd in NCAA history for booting 13, 50+ yard field goals out of 21 attempts.

2. Sloter, Siemian return to Denver

Having both Kyle Sloter and Trevor Siemian on the roster is intriguing. Not just because they both came from Denver, but having the two will make it a tough decision whether to keep two or three quarterbacks.

I’m only expecting Kirk Cousins to play for a few drives or at most the first quarter. That will leave plenty of time for Sloter and Siemian to toss the ball around against their old team.

It’s also really hard for me to see the Vikings bringing in Siemian just to cut him. Unless Sloter is actually playing good ball. It would just be hard to see Sloter get let go. I know Sloter has potential but is he ready to be a backup?

Siemian could be a respectable backup for Cousins. Siemian did throw for over 2,000 yards last season with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 11 games. He had himself a helluva year in 2016 when he threw for about 3,400 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 games.

1. The offensive line

Expect co-offensive line coaches Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko to do a lot of plugging and chugging with the line to try and see who may or may not fit where. They’ll have four weeks to figure it out, but I’ll expect to see a lot of players in different spots.

It won’t be a surprise if we see a lot of Cornelius Edison who is now listed behind Pat Elflein on the depth chart. Since Elflein will probably be out until after the second preseason game, Edison will get a lot of snaps to prove himself to be a solid backup.

Keep an eye out for rookies like tackle Brian O’Neill and guard Colby Gossett. O’Neil may even have a legit chance to beat out Rashod Hill for that right tackle spot. Tom Compton will be the guy at left guard since Nick Easton will be out for the year, so watch how he performs against the Broncos starting defense early on.