Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

5 Goals for Tonight's Preseason Premiere

The Vikings and Bengals will open their preseason slate of games together at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati tonight, with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. (CT). In the regular season, the goal in each game is to win. While winning is still on the to-do list for preseason games, it is the many subplots along the way that matters most in the roster evaluation process.

With that in mind, here are five goals for the Vikings in tonight's preseason opener.

1. Stay Healthy

Football is back, yes. But the first regular season game is still a month away. With a 90-man roster at his disposal and still so much time before Week 1, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer doesn't have to push the issue with any players who are banged up. Several Vikings didn't make the trip to Cincinnati for various reasons and it wouldn't be a surprise to see several others not play or see limited action tonight. The preseason is as much about getting a look at young and inexperienced players as it is about fine-tuning for regular contributors.

2. A TD for the First-Team Offense

It's unknown which of the first-team starters will play and for how long they'll play, but it would be encouraging to see those offensive starters who do play go on a TD march early in the game. The offense appears to have taken significant strides this offseason and training camp, and a TD tonight for that group would only affirm that assertion.

3. Limit Explosive Plays on Defense

Scheme implementation and play calling will become more advanced once the regular season arrives, but for now coaches like to focus on the fundamentals and on technique. If the opposing offense registers a big play at this stage of the process, odds are there was a fundamental breakdown. In order to get more complex and to ultimately get to where coach Zimmer wants his defense to get, the fundamentals must first be mastered. Allowing no explosive plays will be an indication that the Vikings defense is executing well at the basic level.

4. Clean Kicks

The Vikings expect a lot from their kicking game, and tonight being just the first preseason contest will do nothing to lower those expectations. With a new kickoff rule (touchbacks to the 25), there could be new kickoff strategy. Improvement is expected from P Jeff Locke. And the longer PAT appears to be here to stay. Don't snooze during tonight's specials teams snaps – there's a lot to analyze.

5. No Procedural Penalties

All penalties are not sneered at equally. A head coach wants his team to eliminate penalties entirely, but mental mistakes that manifest themselves into penalties will cause a greater level of frustration. False starts, illegal formations and delay of game penalties – the goal is to have zero of these in this game and in every game going forward.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.