Minnesota Vikings vs Oakland Raiders: 5 Things To Watch For


Minnesota Vikings football is finally here, folks!  With that, there are many new things to look for in the first preseason game of the year against the Oakland Raiders.

Here is a list of the top things I’m looking forward to seeing:

Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) gets ready at practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Barr: That’s right, Barr is my #1 thing I want to see.  He’s already moved to the top of the depth chart at outside linebacker and has been getting a ton of coaching from new head coach Mike Zimmer and the positional coaches.  For a guy that was considered SUPER raw going into the draft, it sounds like Anthony Barr might be the complete player the Vikings hope he can be to help bring the Vikings defense back to relevancy.

  • The Defensive Looks: Zimmer inherited a defense that was a mess.  They gave up the most passing touchdowns in the NFL while running a scheme that is designed to prevent that.  We, as fans, grew tired of seeing the Minnesota Vikings giving up late game leads through the air and appear as though they couldn’t stop anything.  Perhaps I should taper my expectations, but color me excited at the idea of a defense that can actually, you know, defend.
  • Offensive Playcalling: Even the vanilla playcalling of preseason might look exotic to Vikings fans after living through the “Musgrave’s Playcard” experiment.  Norv Turner is an experienced playcaller and has a lot of talent to work with on the offensive side of the ball with the Minnesota Vikings.  It should be fun to see what he can do with the tools he has.
  • Jul 25, 2014; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel (16) passes in drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    QB Competition: The media will be paying the most attention to this part of the game.  Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel should be locked in a really tight competition, but an excellent performance from one of them could help their cause greatly.  For now, Cassel will open the game as the quarterback, but we should see significant action from Bridgewater in this game as well.

  • Jerick McKinnon: I’ll admit that I’m skeptical about McKinnon.  His tape didn’t stand out to me the way it did many other folks.  I’m more than willing to let his on-field ability change my mind though.  With Asiata and McKinnon most likely seeing a lot of time in this game due to Adrian Peterson sitting out, he should get the opportunity to do just that.
  • What are you most looking forward to in the first Minnesota Vikings preseason game?  Let me know in the comments!