EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings are set to host the Titans at 7 p.m. (CT) Saturday.
The matchup will mark the opening of the 2023 NFL season at U.S. Bank Stadium and conclude a week that featured two days of joint practices between the teams.
Here are all the ways to catch the action, followed by three things the Vikings.com editorial staff will be watching for during the game. As a bonus, we'll also include what TennesseeTitans.com Senior Editor/Writer Jim Wyatt will be watching from his perspective.
SIMULCAST TV AND RADIO
TV: KMSP FOX 9 in the Twin Cities
Check local listings in Duluth, Rochester and Mankato; Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; La Crosse, Wisconsin
RADIO: KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK 1130-AM and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (CT)
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporter: Ben Leber
Note: The pregame radio show on the Vikings Radio Network will begin at 5 p.m. (CT).
Audio Streaming Option: Catch the audio broadcast on your smart devices through the KFAN channel on the iHeart app.
Catch the Vikings on Tico Sports at WREY "El Rey" 94.9 FM and 630 AM in the Twin Cities and on Tico-Sports.com, elrey949fm.com and Vikings.com.
VIDEO STREAMING OPTIONS
Within the Twin Cities market, as well as designated international markets in the United Kingdom and Canada, viewers can stream the game live on the Vikings app or on Vikings.com.
Click here for the full bevy of options that include over-the-air, cable, satellite, over-the-top and streaming methods.
NFL+ AND NFL+ PREMIUM
Start your free trial of NFL+ today to watch Vikings preseason games live or on-demand.
NFL+ and NFL+ Premium provide all the action when you are on the go. It is available in the NFL app and at NFL.com/plus.
NFL+ is available for $4.99/month or $39.99/year and offers the following:
· Live out-of-market preseason games across devices
· Live local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your phone or tablet
· Live game audio (home, away & national calls) for every game of the season
· NFL Films' on-demand content, ad-free
NFL+ Premium is available for $9.99/month or $79.99/year and offers all of the NFL+ features and the following:
· Full-game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Coaches film (ad-free)
THREE THINGS WE'LL BE WATCHING
Will deep receivers group keep making plays? | By Ellis Williams
Vikings wide receivers spent two days of joint practices versus the Titans getting open.
It wasn't just starters Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn scoring touchdowns, either. Backups Brandon Powell, Trishton Jackson, Jacob Copeland, N'Keal Harry, Blake Proehl and Thayer Thomas all made highlight plays during competitive drills against Tennessee's secondary.
With starters not expected to play Saturday, the reserve receivers can further their momentum in the Vikings second preseason contest.
Returning from a knee injury suffered Aug. 1 (it looked worse than it wound up being), Jackson keeps finding the end zone. On Thursday, he caught a short touchdown from quarterback Nick Mullens, sending the Vikings sideline into a tizzy at the end of a 2-minute drill.
"At this point, I've got such a great group of receivers around me and training staff, I don't even think about it," Jackson said. "They come up and ask me, especially after a play like that in the back of the end zone, 'Hey, how do you feel?' … That's all just positive energy for me, so [the injury is kind of] in my rearview. I'm getting better. I'm not a hundred percent, but I think I'll be there by Saturday."
Powell turned in a highlight-worthy diving catch earlier during the possession that Jackson ended and continues to make plays at different spots on the field. Minnesota may task him with returning punts against the Titans, as well.
Shoring up the O-line | By Lindsey Young
The Vikings first preseason game at Seattle featured ups and downs by all three phases, film from the exhibition contest giving coaches and players alike something to build off.
Minnesota's offensive line struggled especially in the second half, with rookie quarterback Jaren Hall receiving very little protection. Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said Hall was put into some "tough circumstances" in the third and fourth quarter, and Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips also commented on the situation.
"As the game goes on, more and more players kind of down the line, whether it's playing 1s or 2s or 3s, guys with less experience playing NFL football get in the football game," Phillips said earlier this week. "Sometimes it's a little messy, and sometimes defense kind of has a little bit more of an advantage in some of those situations. If I'm a rusher, I know I can rush, and particularly when the game gets to be a more pass-happy game when you're trying to come back from that little deficit. I think that's kind of normal around the league."
The setup left a little to be desired in terms of cleanly evaluating Hall. Mullens, who has taken most of the second-team reps and started last week in Seattle, was able to deliver some passes but also took a few hits.
I'll be watching to see if Minnesota's offensive line establishes more protection for Hall and Mullens.
The only returning starter from 2022 who played in last week's game was right guard Ed Ingram. Minnesota opened with Vederian Lowe, Blake Brandel, Austin Schlottmann, Ingram and Olisaemeka Udoh across the line. Lowe played all 66 offensive snaps. Brandel, Schlottmann and Udoh were in for 39. Ingram played 18.
More action for Ivan Pace, Jr.? | By Craig Peters
Undrafted rookie Ivan Pace, Jr., has generated buzz at multiple points this offseason and made his NFL debut by starting and wearing the green dot helmet (equipped with communications device to relay calls from the sideline) at Seattle.
Pace joined veteran Troy Reeder in opening the game at the inside linebacker spots and played 30 defensive snaps. He led Minnesota in tackles with six, showed speed to the sidelines and a particular elusiveness to get through block attempts by Seahawks who had trouble squaring him.
"It's just, I know I'm not a normal-sized linebacker, so I've got to figure out ways to get around them and get under them," Pace said. "Sometimes, you've just got to run through their face, but I've just got to figure out my own ways. Some linebackers want to post them up, but I don't want to do that."
With Brian Asamoah II still on the mend and veteran Jordan Hicks unlikely to play, Pace could again receive green dot duties and get involved in the action. If last week was an indicator, you'll likely spot him near the football quite often.
WHAT JIM WYATT WILL BE WATCHING
Note: Jim has decades of experience covering the Titans for The Tennessean newspaper and now TennesseeTitans.com. I (Craig) sincerely enjoyed catching up with him personally and professionally. He attended both days of practices, focusing on the Titans perspective.
I asked Jim for his biggest takeaways from the joint practices and what he's interested in seeing in the game.
"I thought the Titans defense got really good work against the Vikings receivers," Wyatt said. "Obviously, Jefferson is tough to contend with, and he made some plays, but I thought the Titans defense competed and had five picks in the two practices combined. Azeez Al-Shaair, Rashad Weaver, Roger McCreary [made picks Wednesday].
"The Vikings came back with a couple of touchdowns in the 2-minute [Thursday]," he added. "Kristian Fulton made a really good one-handed interception, and McCreary made a pick in another period. Yes, the Titans gave up some plays, but they also made some plays and kind of continued scrappy play like they've shown throughout training camp."
Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel was hoping his secondary could log some great work against Vikings receivers, and O'Connell wanted his squad to face a physical group that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in rush yards allowed in 2022.
Wyatt noted that rookie quarterback Will Levis left Thursday's practice early, and his availability for Saturday's game was not specified.
"Vrabel didn't really give any specifics about what he's dealing with but did leave a question mark, as far as his availability goes," Wyatt said. "If he doesn't play, then that's really an extended look at Malik Willis, who has been really good in camp. I thought he showed improvement in the first preseason game, so if he gets a long, long stretch of where he gets to play, I think that gives him a chance to solidify his spot and show how much he's improved."