Friday, August 17, 2012

Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills Preview: Five Aspects to Watch

Josh Robinson will be an intriguing
player to watch in tonight's game vs.

The Vikings begin their home preseason campaign tonight vs. the Buffalo Bills and we will give you five aspects to look for during the game tonight.
The starters are projected to play in almost two quarters of action this evening.  Unlike many of the Vikings preseason opponents, the Vikings won’t play the Bills during the regular season, so the performance may not be as “vanilla.”

Harrison Smith will receive his first opportunity to start at safety tonight. I can’t wait to see his physical presence in the secondary. He has the feisty personality that this defense needs to be successful. With his addition to the lineup, it will be interesting to see if run support is improved over last week’s preseason game.
Josh Robinson will return in his first game action as a Minnesota Viking. He will be one of the players I will be watching closely during tonight’s contest. His ability to make plays and his athleticism will bring a much needed injection to the Vikings secondary. I hope once Robinson gets back to full health, he will become the nickel cornerback of the defense. We need as many athletic players on the field as possible and he brings an advantage to the Vikings defense.

Sage Rosenfels will be the third quarterback for the Vikings during tonight’s game. McLeod Bethel-Thompson possessed those duties in the first preseason game. The Vikings want to receive a better understanding of which quarterback has the best abilities. In other ways, it will be very difficult for the Vikings to release Rosenfel’s due to the bonus he signed at the end of last season. The Vikings would not have brought in Rosenfel’s veteran presence if they were going to release him for an average quarterback option. Yes, Bethel-Thompson has a nice arm and can “air it out” down the field, but financially this isn’t the best decision for the organization. We could try to slide him on the practice squad, but he would likely get snatched, much like Tyler Thigpen several seasons ago.
I would like to see more out of Vikings receiver Manny Arceneaux during the next few ball games. Coach George Stewart explained before the first preseason game, that Arceneaux was one of the most improved players he has ever coached. Stewart has coached in this league for over 30 seasons and has coached the likes of Terrell Owens, Roddy White, and Jerry Rice. This is a big statement coming from a coach with these types of credentials. It will be interesting to see if he utilized more in the game tonight because he was very under the radar in the first contest.

The Vikings will add Antoine Winfield, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Percy Harvin into the starting lineup this week. Ponder will have one of his favorite down field targets for the first time this season. This should give us a better showing of how Ponder has progressed over the past year.
On the defensive side of the ball, with the added additions to the roster, it will be interesting to see if the run defense will improve over the first preseason. It will be key to have experience back in the defense lineup. We will not have many players out of position in key situations. Ultimately, we will see an improvement in this aspect during tonight’s contest.

Overall, the Vikings will look to build upon last week’s game and the last set of practices in Mankato. With the first set of roster cuts coming on Monday at 3pm, this will be the last chance some players will have to impress the coaching staff.

Check out our complete training camp roster breakdown podcast segments! Located on the right side of your screen!

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