Kickoff for the Vikings preseason finale, which will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams, is only hours away. Here are a few final thoughts on the game.
A big job audition
Fans may not see a lot of regulars in the game tonight, but it's still a big night for a lot of NFL players looking to prove they belong. Whether it's coaches and scouts within their current organization or with others, this is a final and perhaps the best chance for a lot of deep reserves to put good tape out there. Expect the intensity to be high as players compete for their livelihoods.
Wisconsin Badgers fans, go crazy
Joel Stave helped guide the Wisconsin Badgers to a lot of wins. He's the winningest quarterback in Wisconsin history. Tonight, it's likely he'll see the bulk of the snaps for the Vikings. Stave is one of three quarterbacks on the Vikings active roster, along with Shaun Hill and Brad Sorensen. With Hill elevated to the starting role after the injury to Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings are unlikely to expose him to injury risk in the preseason finale and Stave has been with the team longer than Sorensen so he figures to get the nod tonight.
Young DBs with chance to shine again
A pair of Vikings draft picks who play in the secondary have impressed during the preseason. Both CB Mackensie Alexander and S Jayron Kearse have grabbed two interceptions, causing Vikings fans to become excited about the prospects for each player as future or even immediate contributors in the secondary. It wouldn't be surprising to see both on the field quite a bit tonight, with veterans Captain Munnerlyn, Terence Newman and Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith unlikely to play much if at all.
Will the gates be open?
The Vikings elected to keep the five glass doors that comprise much of the west side of the building closed for the first game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The pivoting function of those five doors, the largest pivoting glass doors in the world, is a distinguishing characteristic for the venue. With great weather in the forecast, perhaps the gates will be open tonight. Only time will tell, as the Vikings aren't required to make a final decision and announcement until closer to game time.
Up next for the Vikings…
The Vikings will conclude their preseason tonight and will fully set their sights on the regular season. Teams are required to cut their rosters down to 53 players by Saturday and then they can establish up to a 10-member practice squad on Sunday. Even after teams accomplish both of these tasks, expect teams across the League to continue making adjustments based on which players become available. There really is no such thing as the "final 53-man roster." It's a constantly evolving process. The Vikings open the regular season on Sunday, September 11 in Nashville, where they will visit the Tennessee Titans.