Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vikings vs. Texans: Five Aspects to Watch

Can Jarius Wright make
and impact on this roster as
a punt returner?
Today on Vikings Corner, we will give you five aspects to watch in tonight's game vs. the Houston Texans. The Vikings and Texans are resting their starters to prevent injuries going into regular season play. That poses the question, what do we watch for in tonight's ball game?

McLeod Bethel-Thompson is scheduled to play in the second half of tonight's action and will be battling for a potential spot on the Vikings roster. The only way Bethel-Thompson is a member of the Vikings is if he is placed on the active 53-man roster. If he is placed on the practice squad he will be immediatley swiped by another NFL team. Bethel-Thompson will have to prove he can make an impact to merit the Vikings potentially releasing Sage Rosenfels or even Joe Webb.

Robert Blanton is a player I will keep an eye on in tonight's contest. Blanton is making his first NFL start and will receive his first time as an NFL starter. I would love to see Blanton develop into a starter in this league. His coverage skills and his ability to be effective in run support, make him a viable option to be effective. Blanton missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and with some time in practice and in games like tonight, he will begin to develop.

Who will emerge as the linebackers on the roster? I will be watching to see if Tyrone McKenzie continues his consistency as roster cuts loom. As discussed in the Top 10 Players Battling for a Roster Spot vs. Houston, Tyrone McKenzie will need to battle for his spot on the Vikings roster, as will special teams ace Larry Dean. It all depends on whether the Vikings choose position depth or special teams value. If I was making the decision I would choose position depth due to the low position numbers already attributed to the linebacker spot. McKenzie deserves a spot on the roster, but will be in an all out battle for the final linebacker spot.

Jordan Todman is hanging off a cliff and is very close to falling off. Todman, Lex Hilliard, and Matt Asiata will all see extended time as the battle for the third running back spot continues. Asiata wins this job if the decision was made before the game, based alone on his perfomance vs. San Diego. Todman and Hilliard both will have to be extremely impressive for this opinion to change. I like Todman's abilities and feel like he is a carbon copy of former Vikings running back Chester Taylor. His pass catching ability is great for a running back in this league. I just feel like Matt Asiata has been more consistent and deserves a spot on the roster. If you haven't read this great article by 1500 ESPN's Tom Pelissero yet, you will be pushing for Matt Asiata to make this roster.

Who will win the job as the final punt and kick returners. This job was primarily slated to Marcus Sherels, but that doesn't seem like as much of a lock anymore. The Vikings are untilizing cornerback Reggie Jones as a returner along with wide receiver Jarius Wright. Wright looked impressive in the last preseason game vs. San Diego, but has had his moments as a returner during training camp. Marcus Sherels injured his ankle and will miss tonight's game, which comes at a bad time for a player battling for a roster spot.

Overall, these five aspects will be key talking points going into roster cuts tomorrow. We will keep you posted with information leading up to roster cuts, which will begin early tomorrow afternoon.

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