It won’t be long until the season is over. I know, y’all are like, “but, Lucas it’s only the second preseason game.” You’re not wrong, but the season will come and go in a blink of an eye, so enjoy every bit of it.
Minnesota kicks-off against Jacksonville on Saturday at noon. One of the biggest things to watch for that I’m not including on my three things, because it’s just obvious. That’s to watch these two defenses and see where one stacks up against the other.
Here are the three things to keep your eye on throughout the game:
3. Tight end competition
Wednesday in practice, tight end Josiah Price suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now, the tight end depth lost one player. It’s debatable if Price would have even made the roster, but that solidifies a position battle between Blake Bell and rookie Tyler Conklin for the third tight end spot and ixnayed a spot for Price on the active roster.
Conklin only caught one pass last week for two yards, but Bell caught zero passes. I got a thing for rookies beating out players who’ve been in the league for a few years. Conklin only appeared in eight games last season with Central Michigan after missing the first five because of an injury. He still managed to scrape up 28 catches for 406 yards and five touchdowns, averaging about 50 yards a game.
Bell didn’t see much action last season with the Vikings. He only managed three catches for 19 yards in 13 games. He was placed on injured reserve after a shoulder injury he sustained on December 15. The year before that he was in San Francisco where he played in 13 games and only recorded four catches for 85 yards before going on the injured reserve, again.
2. Look for Forbath to strike back
Yes, Daniel Carlson had a fantastic first preseason game. Now, this week it will probably be Kai Forbath hitting field goals and extra points, while Carlson handles kick-offs. Forbath isn’t going to let Carlson just take his job.
Last week Carlson hit what seemed to be a perfect 57-yard field goal and a 39-yard field goal earlier in the game. He managed to make all four of his extra attempts. He had a solid debut, but can Forbath match his performance?
Why do I make a big deal about kickers? Well just look back on track records of former kickers who played for the Vikings and blew big games (cough, cough Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh, cough, cough).
1. Return of Dalvin Cook
Finally we get to see number 33 hit the field and take some live-game reps. Well, hopefully since it’s not a for sure thing. I feel like he might get a decent amount of touches, but this is also where we will get a hint of if he’ll be the same player that he was on pace to be last year before he got hurt.
Before getting hurt last season Cook was on pace to exceed 1,000 yards rushing and some fantasy experts expect him to rush for over 1,100 this season. I’d say pump the breaks a little bit, considering how well Latavius Murray played last season.
I wouldn’t mind if offensive coordinator John DeFlippo decided to split the workload between the two or just run with whoever is feeling it that day. There is no way Murray will take a backseat to Cook.