Preseason Game 1: Five Minnesota Vikings Who Helped Themselves

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Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Gerald Hodges (54) against the Washington Redskins at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Redskins 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Gerald Hodges

Friday night presented a chance for someone to step up in the linebacker corps and begin clarifying the ever-murky picture at that position. One guy who did step up was Gerald Hodges.

The former Penn State LB came up in a big way on special teams by blocking a Raiders field goal attempt. Hodges also had a tackle in kick coverage and a tackle for loss against a Raiders running back in the fourth quarter.

Making plays on special teams is always a great way to separate yourself from the pack when you’re a backup linebacker or defensive back. Hodges took a big step Friday night toward earning himself a spot on the final roster.