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The Skinny Post: Preseason Finale an Audition for Vikings

Consider it a final audition for some members of the Vikings.

Minnesota trimmed its roster from 90 players to 75 on Tuesday, with more roster moves on the horizon.

The Vikings will host the Los Angeles Rams on 7 p.m. (CT) today in their second game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The final preseason game will give Minnesota's coaches, front office personnel and scouts one final chance to evaluate the roster. The Vikings must then pare their roster down to 53 players by Saturday.

Minnesota is 3-0 this preseason after notching wins over Cincinnati, Seattle and San Diego. The Rams, who moved from St. Louis this offseason, are 2-1.

Simulcast: The game will be broadcast in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market via a simulcast on KMSP FOX 9 television and on KFAN 100.3 FM and the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network by the team of Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Greg Coleman and Ben Leber.

Three things to watch:

Night and dayLindsey Young

After defeating the Chargers 23-10, the Vikings have their first home game at U.S. Bank Stadium under their belt. Thursday's matchup against the Rams will offer another "first," however: the debut of a prime-time game in the Vikings new home.

So much buzz has revolved around the stadium's ETFE roof that allows in an immense amount of daylight and gives the bowl an outdoor-stadium feel, and fans experienced that Sunday.

It will be interesting now to see what the facility is like during the evening – from the view of the Minneapolis skyline through the mammoth pivoting doors to the LED indoor lighting used for the game.

U.S. Bank Stadium has impressed fans so far with its state-of-the-art features, and it's sure to offer an additional unique perspective at nighttime.

Getting more repsEric Smith* *

Minnesota's specialists had a strong debut inside U.S. Bank Stadium. Kicker Blair Walsh was perfect on all three field goal attempts, all of which were 33 yards or less, while punter Jeff Locke averaged 47.3 yards on a trio of punts with a net average of 44.3 yards.

The stadium's pivoting glass doors, the world's largest of their kind, were closed during Sunday's game. If the Vikings choose to open them for the Thursday night contest, it would give the Vikings specialists a chance to test their skills amidst a different element.

Either way, Walsh and Locke are sure to benefit from another game inside the stadium as they increase their comfort level in the new venue.

Amount of focusCraig Peters* *

The Vikings knew they weren't going to play Teddy Bridgewater against the Rams. Now, they know they'll be without their Pro Bowl quarterback for all of 2016 because of a dislocated knee that was suffered without contact during Tuesday's practice.

It was a jarring moment for everyone, but Head Coach Mike Zimmer took a deep breath and explained to members of the media that the Vikings don't plan to use the injury as an excuse. A good first step in that direction, even though not many starters are likely to play, can be showing a high level of focus in the team's first trip back on the field.

Substantial Stats

— Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph had one of his best games of the 2015 season against the Rams. Joseph was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording eight tackles, three tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries in a Week 9 home overtime win.

— Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has five career game-winning field goals, three of which have come in overtime. Walsh gave the Vikings a 21-18 win over the Rams last season by nailing a 40-yard field goal in the extra session.

— The Vikings have forced seven turnovers so far this preseason. Minnesota has intercepted opposing quarterbacks six times and recovered a fumble. The Vikings defense has also recorded 10 sacks.

— The Vikings are 11-1 in the preseason under Zimmer. If Minnesota wins tonight, it will be the eighth time it has gone undefeated in a preseason. The last time the Vikings did it was in 2014, Zimmer's first season in charge.


"We're not going to stick our heads in the sand. We're going to tuck our tail between our legs. We're not looking for excuses. We're going to go out and fight like we always do." — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on the team's mentality following a season-ending knee injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Worth a watch

Check out Zimmer's postgame speech after Minnesota's victory over San Diego.

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