Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions: 5 players to watch

3 of 6

Aug 29, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Gerald Hodges (50) in the huddle during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Minnesota won 28-14. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2. Gerald Hodges

Mike Zimmer put in Gerald Hodges at middle linebacker because in his own words he wanted a thumper.

But it’s hard to thump anyone if you can’t get off blocks or stay in running lanes.

Zimmer explained in his Tuesday press conference exactly what went wrong with his linebackers whose performance he rated as “average.”

According to Zim, his linebackers were guilty of using poor technique in attacking blockers, allowing themselves to be moved out of their gaps.

Hodges’ less-than-impressive Monday night performance has some wondering if middle linebacker is maybe not the right spot for the former 4th round pick.

But Hodges is still relatively inexperienced at that position and has a chance to grow into it if Zimmer is willing to stick with him.

The Vikings are much more familiar with what the Lions run offensively than they were with the heavy sets San Francisco threw at them Monday night, so everyone on the Vikings’ D should be more comfortable in this upcoming game.

Bottom line: It’s too early to say if Hodges is or isn’t capable of being a starting Mike.

Next: A running back