5 things to watch during the Vikings game vs. the Cardinals

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Laquon Treadwell
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Laquon Treadwell /
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Mike Boone
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Mike Boone /

Can Boone overtake Mattison?

The final battle of note will occur in the Vikings’ offensive backfield, where Dalvin Cook has not played in either of the first two preseason games.

With the lead back’s extensive injury history though, it just might make sense to hold him out through the preseason in order to determine who will be the next in line should he go down again once the games start to count this year.

To this point, Alexander Mattison has dominated his work with Minnesota’s second-team offense. As expected coming out of Boise State, Mattison has been solid if not spectacular averaging 3.7 yards per game. But he also had that total boosted by a 22-yard run last week.

While Mike Boone has the same boost in his average thanks to a 64-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints in the Vikings’ preseason opener, he’s looked like the more explosive back. That style of play would be more similar to Cook’s, which would make for a more intriguing option if he’s needed in the regular season.

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Even if Cook is held out again, Boone should get an opportunity with the second-team offense on Saturday just for Minnesota to see what they have. If he doesn’t perform, then Mattison should have the backup job sewn up before the fourth preseason game at Buffalo next week.