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Final Thoughts: Vikings Set to Open 2018 Preseason

Some say the preseason is sleepy. Not Mike Zimmer's Minnesota Vikings.

Speaking with reporters for the final time before his team opens the 2018 preseason, Zimmer said he expects the preseason to be eye-opening – not sleep inducing – for his players.

"I think the big thing is that you're out here practicing and practicing and you don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel," Zimmer explained. "Now you get a game and you know that the regular season is three of four weeks away from this, so I think it'll start ramping up with everything as we get moving here. I think it's a good indicator of now the season is really coming up fast and make sure they have a good sense of urgency continuing to move forward."

Vikings players would be wise to heed their head coach's message because the intensity will not decrease after the first preseason game. The Vikings will return to Minnesota in the middle of the night following their game in Denver, take a day to rest on Sunday and then get back into training camp mode with practices on Monday and Tuesday followed by practices with the Jacksonville Jaguars at TCO Performance Center on Wednesday and Thursday.

Those two joint practices will feature two of the best and most physical defenses in the league taking on offenses well-positioned to dish it all right back. Ultimately, it will provide Zimmer and his staff a good opportunity to evaluate their players.

"We'll get a couple days against Jacksonville next week, another good football team," Zimmer said. "By the end of these next two weeks or the week after that we should be able to have a pretty good evaluation of where we are on some of the guys."

Vikings OL Crash Course

Vikings center Pat Elflein has yet to practice during training camp, right guard Mike Remmers has been banged up and out of action and on Thursday Zimmer announced that left guard Nick Easton was heading to the Reserve/Injured list soon. It's not reason to panic, but it does have Vikings Nation wondering who will see increased opportunities to step up.

During his media availability on Thursday, Zimmer was asked about several candidates. Check out the video clip below to get caught up.


Hey Mike,

I think we are going to see a big jump in play by our second year players on both sides of the lines. Now with some experience and a good preseason this year, they will make a big contribution.

-- Curtis

Easton PA

I loved this note from Curtis, a regular emailer who has great passion for the team. Let's advance Curtis' theory and list out all the second-year linemen on both sides of the ball.

On defense, it's Tashawn Bower and Jaleel Johnson. On offense, it's Aviante Collins, Cornelius Edison and Danny Isidora. It would not be a surprise if all five of those players made the 53-man roster at the end of the preseason.

Bower has had great veteran models with Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and Brian Robison in the same room every day the last two years. Johnson stands to be the backup to free agent acquisition Sheldon Richardson and stands to gain from the departures of Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen in free agency.

Edison has taken the first-team reps at center in Elflein's absence and both Collins and Isidora are strong candidates to step in at guard with Easton's injury.

NFL Game Pass

Out of market? Don't worry, you're not out of luck this preseason. You can watch live out-of-market Vikings preseason games and replays of every game online via NFL Game Pass. Click here to start your free seven-day trial.

You can customize your viewing experience with NFL Game Pass. Want more than just the highlights, but don't have time for the full broadcast? Watch a Condensed Game in ~45 minutes. Want to watch tape like the pros with coaches film? There's an all-22 version of the replay, too.

Broadcast Information


Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline: Greg Coleman, Ben Leber

Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline: Greg Coleman, Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 6:00 pm CT