Advertising

Early Look: Vikings at Titans

EAGAN, Minn. — It’s almost showtime.

The Vikings will wrap their preseason schedule Thursday against the Titans with a 7 p.m. (CT) kickoff from Nashville.

Minnesota will then have 10 days to rest up and get ready for its 2018 season opener, which is a Week 1 home game against San Francisco at noon (CT) at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Expect the majority of Minnesota’s starters to rest up Thursday, as depth players and those fighting for a roster spot will likely get the majority of the playing time.

The Vikings are 2-1 in preseason play so far, beating Denver and Seattle but falling to Jacksonville.

Tennessee is winless in three preseason games so far.

Here’s a look at Minnesota’s final preseason tilt against the Titans:

Passing: Kirk Cousins likely won’t play against Tennessee. Minnesota’s starter instead is using this week’s practices to get ready for the Sept. 9 season opener. He completed 24 of 40 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown in three preseason games.

Backup Trevor Siemian is 20-of-35 passing for 214 yards with two touchdowns. Kyle Sloter rallied the Vikings in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks on Friday. He is 30-of-41 passing for 236 yards with three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. Peter Pujals, an undrafted rookie free out of Holy Cross, has not appeared in a game.

Pujals was the first four-year captain in Holy Cross football history, and he threw for 11,695 yards and 84 touchdowns in 48 career games.

Titans starter Marcus Mariota also likely won’t play against the Vikings. He has completed 11 of 18 passes for 185 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in preseason play.

Blaine Gabbert and Luke Falk are the backups in Tennessee.

Rushing: Dalvin Cook saw his first action of the preseason Friday against Seattle. The second-year back, who is not expected to play against the Titans, played four snaps and had two carries net one yard.

Latavius Murray has 20 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown in preseason action so far.

The competition for the Vikings third running back spot could be decided with Thursday’s game.

Mike Boone has 34 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown in preseason play. Roc Thomas and Mack Brown did not see action Friday due to injuries but could return to help make a push for a roster spot.

Others in the backfield to watch include Kobe McCrary, who played at the University of Minnesota.

Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis make up the tandem at running back for the Titans.

Neither will likely play Thursday, leaving players such as Akrum Wadley, Dalyn Dawkins and David Fluellen chances to shine.

Receiving: Notable names such as Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph likely won’t play on Thursday. Diggs has seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games.

Thursday’s game could be a chance for youngsters in the wide receiver room to impress coaches. Chad Beebe has stood out in the preseason with nine catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Jake Wieneke caught a touchdown and added a 2-point conversion last weekend. Others such as Brandon Zylstra, Cayleb Jones, Jeff Badet and Korey Robertson could also see significant playing time against the Titans.

Corey Davis, a top 10 pick in 2017 out of Western Michigan, leads Tennessee’s receiving corps. Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe are also expected to contribute.

Taywan Taylor leads the Titans with 113 receiving yards and two scores in the preseason.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 9-4 all-time against Titans/Oilers franchise in the regular season, with the Vikings winning seven of the past eight matchups.

Minnesota has faced three different teams in the series dating back to 1974. The first seven meetings came when the franchise was known as the Houston Oilers, while the 1998 matchup was against the Tennessee Oilers. The past five meetings have featured the Vikings and the Tennessee Titans.

This will be the fifth time the teams have met in the preseason (fourth in Music City) since 2011.

Last meeting: Vikings 25, Titans 16, Sept. 11, 2016, in Nashville

The Vikings opened the 2016 season with a win after an emotional and wild span in the 12 days before.

Shaun Hill started at quarterback for Minnesota, and Sam Bradford served as the backup. Bradford was acquired eight days before the game after Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season with a serious knee injury.

Minnesota trailed 10-0 at intermission before scoring 25 unanswered points in the second half.

The Vikings kicked two field goals before linebacker Eric Kendricks scored the first touchdown of the season on a 77-yard interception return for a score. Minnesota’s defense struck again as defensive end Danielle Hunter returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Hill passed for 236 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions while wide receiver Stefon Diggs had seven catches for 103 yards on the day.

Hunter and defensive tackle Linval Joseph each had a sack in the win.

Advertising