Garrett Bradbury will get an opportunity to save his job
One of the biggest questions with any preseason game is how long the starters will play. Sean McVay notoriously mentioned that Matthew Stafford will never play in a preseason game while he is coaching the Los Angeles Rams and with Kevin O’Connell serving under McVay for the past two seasons, he will likely take the same approach.
But the center position could be an exception, where Garrett Bradbury is looking to save his job.
O’Connell hyped up Bradbury during the NFL Scouting Combine and many thought it was just a case of coach speak. The Vikings doubled down over the offseason by not adding a true center during free agency or the draft. That left Bradbury entering camp as the unquestioned starter and it turned out just as you would think it would.
His poor performance in a drill against Harrison Phillips last week quickly made its way across the internet and O’Connell admitted last week that there is an open competition for the starting center spot.
The problem here is that the Vikings don’t have an obvious challenger for Bradbury. Neither Austin Schlottman nor Chris Reed has played center in a regular season game and Reed’s issues snapping the ball leave the Vikings without a safety net heading into the season.
This means that Sunday will be an indication of whether there is a true competition at center or not. If Bradbury plays, it means the coaching staff wants to see how he fares against some of the other options on the roster. If he doesn’t, it means the coaching staff wants to see if those other options can handle the position before checking the waiver wire for an alternative.