The Vikings and Rams will play their preseason finales against one another on Thursday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium. The game, scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. (CT), will be broadcast in simulcast fashion by the Vikings Entertainment Network, with fans able to catch the game on the Vikings Radio Network as well as on television locally on Fox 9. Here are five storylines to chase in the buildup to Thursday night's game.
1. Everybody's mind on Teddy Bridgewater
It has nothing to do with Thursday evening's game between the Vikings and Rams, but the injury suffered by QB Teddy Bridgewater will be first and foremost on the minds of the Vikings organization and of Vikings fans for the immediate future. Head coach Mike Zimmer held a press conference a couple hours after Bridgewater was injured on Tuesday and then the team issued a statement Tuesday evening.
2. Vikings forced to reload at quarterback
There will be a plan put in place for the quarterback position on Thursday night; more on that below. But the plan for the season could be something different. There are a lot of moving parts, with Joel Stave still in early development, second-year passer Taylor Heinicke recovering from injury, Shaun Hill locked in and ready to guide the offense in Bridgewater's stead and a bevy of options to be added, including quarterbacks currently unsigned plus some from other teams who could be candidates to be acquired via trade. There will be a lot to monitor over the next few days.
3. Rookie QB Joel Stave likely to get a long look
It may have been the plan anyway, but with Bridgewater's injury likely putting Shaun Hill in position to be the starter and with the team releasing QB Brad Sorensen, you can expect it'll be undrafted rookie Joel Stave who takes the bulk or even all of the snaps against Los Angeles. In three preseason games this year, Stave has completed 19 of 33 attempts for 209 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
4. Will Moritz Böhringer see the field?
A sensation the third night of the draft and an offseason talker, WR Moritz Böhringer hasn't seen much action in the preseason. But that could change on Thursday night, with reserves expected to take all the reps and with the team having released three other receivers earlier in the week.
5. Specialists look to build momentum heading into regular season
There may be mostly reserves playing up and down the lineup, but the primary specialists will handle a regular workload on Thursday evening. The trio of P Jeff Locke, long snapper Kevin McDermott and K Blair Walsh will look to conclude their preseasons with crisp outings so they can carry what was a solid offseason into the 10 days of preparation to kick off the regular season in Tennessee on September 11.