A week from tonight, the Vikings will take the field for real against the Saints. But before we get there, we have to endure one more preseason game.
And this isn’t just any old preseason game – it’s the 4th preseason game, which everyone knows is always the most boring and tedious.
Of course, Brad Childress could save us from tedium by giving his starters some extra playing time, as he hinted he might after a ragged offensive performance against the Seahawks. However, I have to believe good sense will prevail, meaning we won’t see much if any of Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and the rest of the stars tonight against the Broncos.
So what is there left to look forward to in this game? Well, there’s always the chance the Vikings could maul Tim Tebow, which would be satisfying on too many levels to name.
Actually, Tebow’s presence is probably responsible for 95% of whatever intrigue this game holds for fans. And it’s not just Bronco fans who are curious to see how Tim performs. Viking fans want to see him too…because if he plays well, they will get to blast Brad Childress for the next several days for not drafting him. And what Viking fan doesn’t love a good, new excuse to blast Chilly?
Okay, but outside of Tebow, what interest does this game hold? How about that guy the Vikings have playing quarterback after Favre, Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels?
Admit it – you get a little bit jacked up whenever Joe Webb enters the game. There’s an electricity about the guy that can’t be explained. And, if the Vikes manage to keep him around long enough to develop his raw talents, he might actually be a halfway decent quarterback one day. Maybe in three years?
Speaking of quarterbacks…I have to say, I’m a little curious to see how Tarvaris Jackson plays tonight too. Over the last few days, there have been a lot of stories asking whether Sage and not T-Jack should be the #2 quarterback. Based on preseason performance so far, T-Jack is the clear #3 – but Brad Childress says T-Jack is #2 and will stay #2 no matter what happens.
So, there’s really no pressure on T-Jack to perform. However, I think he needs to show something more tonight than what he’s been showing. For pride if nothing else. Because let’s be honest, he has been brutal. And if the Vikings do decide to trade Sage…well, I’d sleep better knowing that T-Jack cobbled together at least one decent series in an actual game.
There are a few positions besides quarterback that warrant a little watching. One is wide receiver, where Logan Payne and Javon Walker are still on the bubble. I think Javon’s TD catch last week plus the official Favre endorsement have him on the cusp of making the squad, but Payne…I think he needs a very good night to save himself.
Running back is also a position to watch. Toby Gerhart is probably the #2 right now ahead of Albert Young, but I don’t think that’s completely solidified yet. Darius Reynaud is another guy some people think is on the line, but I actually believe he is solidly on the team, especially after his kick return last week, and the flashes of shiftiness he’s shown in the running game.
Defensively…it’s the safety thing again. Last week, the 2 man race became a 3 man race, when Chilly tossed Husain Abdullah into the mix with Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford. I have advocated several unorthodox methods of resolving this situation, including a rock-paper-scissors tournament and a Magic 8 Ball consultation. Maybe one of those guys will pick off three passes tonight and put all this to bed.
And while we’re on the subject of putting things to bed: I think tonight, at last, we will be able to shut out the light on Rhys Lloyd‘s Viking career.
It was a nice idea, having a Mr. Touchback on the team, but unfortunately, Lloyd has not been kicking as far as everyone expected. Maybe, if the Vikings didn’t have so many other pressing roster decisions to make, they could’ve afforded the luxury of carrying Lloyd. But now they’re going to need to find an extra corner, plus they’ve got the whole Joe Webb thing to worry about, plus they’re not entirely sorted at receiver meaning they might want to carry one extra guy. Add it all up and I think Lloyd is history.
One guy I don’t think will be history after tonight? Sage Rosenfels. All along I’ve said I don’t believe the Vikings will trade him, and nothing has happened to change my mind. In fact, after a the shots Favre has taken this preseason – and the shots of lube he’s gotten in his ankle – I think the Vikings are convinced even more than before that they need the insurance policy of Sage. I think it would be reckless and irresponsible to go into the season with only T-Jack and Webb behind Favre.
Sage Rosenfels is more than just the most wildly overpaid clipboard caddy the world has ever known…he is also a tall, handsome dose of reassurance.