|Look for Vikings safety Robert|
Blanton to make an impact
during the regular season.
Obviously a key part of the Vikings success this season will hinge on Christian Ponder's performance. Ponder must improve his decision making and his poise in the pocket, both of which have been issues during the preseason. He must be open to all options instead on zoning in on one receiver when going through progressions. This was a major tendency last season and led to sacks and interceptions. These issues can be the difference between a win and a loss and must be resolved before regular season play begins.
The Vikings main issue going into the season is the uncertainty surrounding the split end wide receiver position. With Jerome Simpson suspended for the first three games, the Vikings need someone to step up into his role. In the first three preseason games, none of the receivers have emerged as potential suitors for this position. This will become interesting as Leslie Frazier indicated Devin Aromashodu, Manny Arceneaux, Stephen Burton, and Jarius Wright all will see extended action in Thursday's game and that he hopes for someone to seperate themselves from the pack. The door is extremely open, as no receiver on the Vikings roster has more than three receptions during the preseason.
Will the safety position show the same consistency as in the past two preseason games? I'm not so sure and wouldn't be suprised to see Robert Blanton in the mix by the end of the season. Blanton has been battling a hamstring injury since the middle of training camp and hasn't had an extended period of time to become aclitmated to the league. He will get a strong look in the Thursday's game vs. the Texans, by starting and playing the whole game. Rookie Harrison Smith has shown he is ready for his role as a starter and I feel like with work, he can be a nice compliment to Smith in the backside of the defense.
Who will emerge as the starting nickel cornerback this season? Many have become concerned with Chris Carr's less than stellar performance in the preseason and are wondering if he is the answer to the equation. Look for Carr to begin the regular season as a starter, but only for a few weeks until Josh Robinson is fully recovered from his concussion, which may be sooner rather than later. Robinson's speed, athleticism, and his ability to make tackles, defeats Chris Carr's mediocre performance. Carr is a decent backup option and is a huge help to cornerback depth, which has been weak over the past few seasons.
Overall, the Vikings have four areas in which they must improve upon before the regular season begins on September 9th, but are more prepared than last season. Look for the Vikings to be much improved, as the re-building stage of this organzation has begun and his heading in the right direction.