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Key positional battles remaining

It’s the last pre-season game, who’s going to make the cut?

NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings shuffle off to Buffalo to take on the Bills in the last preseason game of 2019, and there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered in terms of who’s going to make the team and who isn’t. Let’s try and break it down:

Special teams: It seems the more the Vikings try to fix this issue, the worse it becomes. Last year they signed Dan Bailey, who only made 75% of his attempts. After Bailey was shaky to begin training camp, they traded for Kaare Vedvik, who only missed one field goal attempt for the Ravens during the 2018 preseason. On Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Vedvik missed two field goals. In their final practice before leaving for Buffalo, he was as shaky as a Parkinson’s patient trying to eat during an earthquake:

I honestly have no idea if Vedvik is going to be the kicker or Bailey is. Someone needs to have a good game Thursday.

Running back: I honestly think Mike Boone has won the RB3 job, and the only question remaining is if Ameer Abdullah has done enough to make the team and consequently, if the Vikings carry four running backs.

Wide receiver: Here is what I think the Vikings WR depth looks like past Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs:

Chad Beebe has been ordained as WR3 and has shown nothing in three games as to why. We’re told he practices well, and apparently that carries more weight than, you know, game performance. Just ask Kyle Sloter. I will say, Olabisi Johnson looks good and appears to be a lock for the roster. He’s been working in with the first team in practice, and it’s possible he’s pulled even or passed Beebe as WR3. I think they are WR3 and WR4, but I still look for the Vikings to sign someone after rosters are cut down to 53 players.

Backup QB: On one hand, you have the Vikings fans, who feel Kyle Sloter deserves to not only be given a shot to win the backup QB job (he should), but feel he has already won the job (he hasn’t). On the other hand, you have the Vikings coaching staff, who tells us that there’s a lot more to playing well against third string players (there is), and the fans don’t see a lot of what goes on (that is also true).

And not only has Sloter’s performance NOT, apparently, given the Vikings pause as to who their backup QB should be, he might not even make the roster, if you believe some local beat writers. The Vikes have had three QB’s on the roster for as long as I can remember, and Sloter is apparently a favorite of Denver Mafia Don Gary Kubiak, so Sloter being cut seems like a longshot. Or is it?

Fullback: I don’t think C.J. Ham is going to get cut, but with TE David Morgan almost certainly starting the season on the PUP list, has Khari Blasingame played his way on to the roster as kind of a fullback/tight end hybrid? I don’t know, but Blasingame has played very well so far, and I think he’s earned a roster spot. And if he does, how does that possibly affect Abdullah, for example?

Cornerback: The uncertainty with this position group seems to have cleared up substantially in the last week. Mike Hughes was taken off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and put on the active roster, meaning he’ll be ready for week one. I don’t know that he’ll be 100% and take a full game load for the first few games, but I do think he’ll see the field as a dime back, giving the Vikes some much needed depth.

For a lot of guys, there is a lot to play for Thursday, as it will be the last opportunity for many to wear an NFL uniform. Good luck to everyone chasing their dream.