Jul 27, 2012; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) pulls athletic trainer Eric Sugarman as he runs drills away from the team as he is on the physically unable to perform list at training camp at Blakeslee Stadium at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

In Minnesota Vikings Territory


I caught up with Dan Zinski of The Viking Age in order to get more information on this week’s opponent the Minnesota Vikings. Here are some of his thoughts:

1. Do you think Adrian Peterson will play on Friday? How much playing time will he get and do you think it is a good idea to play him?

 

The news has broken that Peterson will not play at all this preseason. Probably the right call. There’s not a whole lot to be gained by exposing him to injury in a meaningless game. He should get enough work in practice to be ready for the season opener. And if we know Adrian, he will be ready. The work he’s put in rehabbing has been amazing.

2. What veteran Vikings are on the bubble?

Michael Jenkins was on the bubble but he took a pay cut so he’s probably safe. Chris Carr has had a couple bad preseason games and might be in some trouble. Lex Hilliard is another guy they brought in who is now being given a good run for his money as the #3 running back. Most of the veterans they have in camp who aren’t the established stars are of that sort of second-tier variety. Jeff Charleston. Tyrone McKenzie. Marvin Mitchell. It’s a much younger team than the last couple years.

3. Which youngsters are making a push for a roster spot?

First round pick Harrison Smith seems to have locked down a starting safety spot. 3rd rounder Josh Robinson is moving up the depth chart at cornerback and might end up bumping Chris Carr. Of course there’s 7th rounder Audie Cole who had two pick sixes in the last preseason game and is becoming a bit of a folk hero. He’s definitely threatening to win a linebacker spot. Brandon Fusco is a second year guy out of Slippery Rock who was handed the right guard job and hasn’t done anything to lose it yet. We could still hear from Robert Blanton, another 2012 draft pick, at safety before it’s over, though Mistral Raymond, another second-year guy, seems to have locked down the other safety spot. Another guy is Matt Asiata, an unheralded back who could very well win the #3 RB spot. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, a big-armed QB has made some waves. Defensive end Nick Reed has impressed some people with his quickness and might wind up sticking. Lots and lots of young guys getting attention in camp this year with all the old guys they dumped in the offseason.

4. Just a comment: We are jealous of your city for approving a new stadium.

Thanks. It sure helps the process when you have the NFL actively backing it. Obviously the league never wanted the Vikings to leave and were going to do whatever it took to make it work in Minnesota. I hope the Chargers get a stadium and stay in San Diego. It always sucks when established teams that have been in the same place for decades have to move. Let the Jaguars go to L.A. No one cares about them anyway.

5. What are your expectations for the Vikings this season?

They’re not very high. I think the offense has a chance to be better than expected with Christian Ponder showing some growth and the offensive line and receiver corps being shored up a little. But the defense just looks like a mess. It doesn’t help that we’re in a division with three legit Super Bowl contenders. Gonna be hard to win even one division game this year. Five wins might be the upper edge of realistic expectation for this team. Personally I’m adjusting everything down and just hoping to see some progress from the young guys. If they can finish out the year as a better team than they started, that will make me happy.

Notes:

That safety Harrison Smith would have looked awesome in Chargers colors. Too bad the Vikings snatched him up and it sounds like he is doing good over there.

How does Chris Carr sound as a veteran corner for our roster? We need more depth at the position and we have been shopping at the Baltimore Raven scraps table for a while.

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