2. Who is a player on offense and defense that Vikings fans may not know as well but could make a difference in the game?
On offense, a player to keep your eyes on is tight end Robert Tonyan. The tight end position struggled to produce under Mike McCarthy but it plays an integral part of Matt LaFleur’s offense. Most Minnesota fans will know Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis but Tonyan will get plenty of snaps as well. He was on the roster last year but as a converted wide receiver he saw limited snaps but still managed to haul in a 54-yard touchdown reception in Seattle.
This offseason he worked out with George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers to help refine his skill set and this summer there was a noticeable difference in his ability as a blocker and in the passing game. Tonyan is a big, athletic option for Aaron Rodgers and he has that big-play potential every time he steps on the field. Last week in Chicago he had just one pass come his way but it was a 28-yard completion.
For the defensive side of the ball, I’ll choose second-year cornerback, Tony Brown. During offseason programs and training camp, Brown really popped and received some high-praise from Rodgers a few different times. Brown is at his best when playing in man coverage which is a staple of the Mike Pettine defense and he will see plenty of time on the field with Jaire Alexander and Kevin King as they try to slow down Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Brown has that playmaking ability and is a prime candidate for a big jump this season which is what everyone hopes to see from their second-year players.