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5 Things To Watch Tonight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 20, 2011 – 10:44 am

The Vikings will play their second game of the 2011 preseason tonight against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in downtown Seattle. Here are five things to watch during tonight’s game…

Improvement from Donovan McNabb, first-team offense
While it might not have satisfied the appetite of Vikings fans, the performance from the first-team offense last week was acceptable for a preseason debut. But a similar performance tonight against Seattle in preseason game #2 will not be acceptable. McNabb and Co. need to take a step forward and they appear ready to do that after a solid week of practice. McNabb is cautiously optimistic about the offense’s progress and we’ll find out tonight if that optimism is warranted. No, we shouldn’t look for perfection, but we should expect to see extended drives, minimal penalties, no turnovers, no sacks and maybe even a TD.

Tyrell Johnson’s performance at safety
There’s been great competition at the safety position during training camp, primarily between Johnson and Jamarca Sanford. But we also can’t count out rookie Mistral Raymond, who has put together a great training camp and is opening eyes. Tonight, Johnson will get the start and it’s important that he plays well. Johnson has all the physical tools to be a talented safety in the NFL. He’s also a smart player who understands the Vikings scheme. Now he needs to put it all together at once while he’s on the field, something he hasn’t been able to do consistently. If he can do that, I believe he’ll be the coaching staff’s choice as the starter. If he can’t do that tonight, then I think it’s a wide open race for the starting position among Johnson, Raymond and Sanford.

Who will step up at WR
Both Greg Camarillo and Percy Harvin have been declared out of this game, which means the Vikings coaching staff will get a longer look at a few players who normally wouldn’t see as much action. Both Camarillo and Harvin play primarily in the slot position, so I expect Juaquin Iglesias and Jaymar Johnson will be the guys who get the extra reps tonight. Both are roster bubble guys and both have recently been playing well. Iglesias has looked great in practice while filling in for Camarillo and Harvin. Johnson has worked his tail off to remain on this roster and then last week he ripped off a 40-yard punt return. Other guys who could get a few extra looks tonight in the slot are Manny Arceneaux and Devin Aromashodu – I view Aromashodu as more of an outside receiver but I also think he’s a polished enough receiver that he could play all three of the WR positions in this offense.

Christian Ballard at DT
Ballard’s best trait, in my eyes, is his versatility. He played and started in a lot of games at the University of Iowa at both DE and DT. So far with the Vikings, he’s played primarily at DT behind Kevin Williams at the 3-technique and his best moment of training camp came last week in Tennessee when he notched a sack from the DT position. If Ballard can continue to be a disruptive force tonight – even if it doesn’t result in a sack – it will go a long way toward convincing coaches that he can be a member of the DL rotation this season. It’s uncertain how well Brian Robison will play as the new starter at left DE and it’s uncertain if Williams will be available for the first four games of the regular season, so Ballard’s presence as a disruptive force in the rotation will ease a lot of the uncertainty.

Ryan D’Imperio creating separation at FB
One of my favorite position battles to watch so far during training camp and the preseason is at FB, where D’Imperio entered as the starter and Matt Asiata came in as an undrafted rookie free agent. D’Imperio was a draft pick in 2010 and the Vikings converted him from a college LB to an NFL FB. He spent last season on the practice squad and there’s no questioning the improvement he’s made in one year’s time. Asiata has also impressed, primarily because of his athleticism both in carrying the ball and catching passes out of the backfield. Tonight, though Asiata won’t play because of injury, which means D’Imperio can create more separation with a solid performance.


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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 42 Comments »


42 Responses to “5 Things To Watch Tonight”

  1. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    BAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  2. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Just got 10lbs of chicken wings from Costco– I am ready.

  3. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Nova, when I was picking out my salmon and tilapia, I checked out the lobster tail prices– nice big ones from Brazil– $19.98 per pound. And that is Costco, so average grocery store prices will be higher.

  4. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Those Brazilian lobsters would be Rock lobsters, no claws. Very good, but not nearly as good as our “Maine” lobster. A different taste, but still better than tuna casserole!

  5. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    10 lbs.of chicken wings……..that should get you through the early game too!

  6. By Thomas A. on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    I am excited to see improvement from the Vikes this evening!! It is exciting to see some of the new guys battling for a roster spot. I am hoping that we are able to sack T-Jack several times and provide constant pressure on him!

  7. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    I have had the Maine lobster in Boston and Maine– very good, but they need to teach visitors how to get the meat out— first time I had a whole lobster in Boston, I ended up at a drive thru a few hours later having a burger.

  8. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see how TJack and Rice play against their former team– TJack may have a slight chip on his shoulder, but he is way too anxious. I don’t see him doing much. Why did Seattle put all their hopes on him. I am one of the most optimistic bloggers, but TJack has not proven anything as far as I am concerned. Fred Jones?

  9. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Take a big kn1ve, put it lengthwise along the lobster’s back,and give it a good rap with your palm. Same for the claws. Then simply open it up, pull out the meat, dip in melted butter……….Heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Never get a lobster below 1.5 lbs or over 3-4 lbs. the former is too much work, and the latter tend to be tough. Now I’ll shut up about lobster, this is a football blog. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TARVARIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Yeah, the only food we can talk about on a football blog are buffalo wings.

  12. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    I saw a clip with Childress on an nfl.com video last night– he said McNabb will be good this year. I think Childress has a long and healthy career in broadcasting in front of him. Maybe he can come back and announce the games with Paul Allen.

  13. By Frederick Jones on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    Pre-season can be a difficult time to evalutate a qb. Because they don’t get to play much. Someone said TJack did well in his first pre-season game. I don’t know, I missed it.

    Will Tarvaris Jackson go the way of Ryan Leaf, and JaMarcus Russell?

    I think that he will be a competitive QB, and Seattle will have to pass a lot.
    3000 yards, 20 Tds, 17 interceptions, 40 sacks.

  14. By Frederick Jones on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @AmishViking,

    I agree with your analysis of the offensive line, although this is still not a must-win game.

    Are you Amish or is that just your blog name? If you are Amish, how can you watch the Vikings?

  15. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, Fred, but hasn’t TJack had a lot of opportunities already? He is far from being a rookie.

  16. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    I think mid-way through the season, if TJack struggles, there will be mutiny in Seattle and dissension– and TJack will have a meltdown.

  17. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    He might be a bad Amish Fred, I was a bad Catholic!

  18. By Remember Met Stadium on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Lobster mmmmmm

    TJ meltdown… hmmmmm

    TJ made of butter? Seems like lobster would be the perfect food then. Then again, since they are in Seattle, and Alaska is closer, maybe crabby legs would be a better choice? ;)

  19. By sandiamond on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    can anyone explain this gameday blog a liitle better that starts at kickoff. Are we supposed to just watch for Wob’s comments and can the fans post there also. If so, are all comments excepted on the page or screened/ moderated by Wobs?

  20. By PuRpLe 'n GoLd on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    im really excited to see how we can improve even though its just the preseason

  21. By slang slinger on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    mcnabb step in tonight and he gunna thro a big ball deep to bearian in he gun walk in like the snail before you can say dun gun bunger.

  22. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb is going to prove to be an MVP this year. Watch him have his best year ever!

  23. By scott r on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Just put ribs in the smoker. T Joke is a chocker. Will play tonight like always a true joker. GO VIKES!!!

  24. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Vikings 35, Seahawks 12.

  25. By Erik the Red on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Im out on the east coast, so gonna be up late (or early) watching this one. Hope we get a good game! Go Vikes!

  26. By purplehorn on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Wobshall,

    How did your blog turn into a food channel ad? Are you guys hungry or what? Back to football. I’m going to be watching three things tonight. Both lines and the wide receivers. Supplemental draft has a kid from Ohio State available besides Pryor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyCP5pvmsw

  27. By Titus on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Everyone eats with football– it is part of the game.

  28. By purplehorn on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus I know man…….don’t pay any attention to me!

  29. By brockjn on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    I would love to see T Jack get obliterated tonight, right along with Rice. I wonder if Cook covers Rice first play of the game, will Tjack try a deep pass to him? Hmm…. I hope to see RIce go over the middle and Brinkley or Henderson just rips ol’ boy in half! Hey and I wanted to let you guys know that I hear Fitzgerald wants to come back home….. Speculation though but still that would be great to have in Ponder’s first year as a starter!

  30. By Parody on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Coach Frazier has advertised that Griffen’s coming back today. That means that chances are Winfield and Cedric will be covering Rice at the beginning of the game. That will make it a little bit harder for him to break a big gain on us.

    And now, all of a sudden I’m in the mood for some chicken fried rice. Maybe I’ll chase out and grab a few dishes for the game tonight.

  31. By Parody on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    With Camarillo out, a few guys will get a good chance to move ahead of him on the depth chart. If he isn’t careful, Camarillo is going to be looking for a new team before the start of the season. Not that it bugs me all that much, since I think a couple of other guys have more to add to the roster than Cam is capable of anyways.

  32. By Carl K on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings offensive line has been slow to come around in training camp. The O-line gave up 4 sacks, and A. Peterson and T. Gerhart only had 11 yards on 4 attempts for a pedestrian 2.75 yrd average against the Titans.

    I will be watching for improvement in the O-line #1. Limit turnovers #2. And better tackling #3. It would be nice to take a step forward tonight in the give away take away department.

  33. By AmishViking? on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    How do watch the Vikings?….usually from a chair or some times I stand. No I am not Amish. Just live in a county with many. I actually use this name to meet women. They go for the beard and Hat thing!

  34. By Garrett on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @AmishViking?

    wow……..

  35. By Garrett on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Did we actually get rid of husein abdulluh???? I will be so happy if we did!!

  36. By Carl K on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    With Camarillo out, the door is open for J Johnson to step up. I will be watching to see if Johnson can take that #4 wr spot. How far can JJ move up the ladder?

  37. By Parody on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @Garrett – Where did you hear that? Abdullah has been the best safety on the team so far this offesason. Why do you want him gone? Is there something in his play or work ethic that you don’t like? Or do you just have a problem with a muslim on the starting lineup?

  38. By Frederick Jones on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    @AmishViking,

    That’s interesting. I thought women went for money, Amish are not noted for having money because they share everything.

  39. By Jeffbleedspurple on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Camarillo ain’t going nowhere! the reason him and Harvin are not playing is due to the fact their positions are pretty much locked up! I one person I will be watching tonight is Ponder, GO PONDER!!!

  40. By Tim on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    so I just heard that Fitzgerald signed a long-term deal. I was hoping that some how he would slip through and land here, but no luck….

  41. By paul on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    With a new Q.B.( McNabb,) One would think game condition reps with Camarillo and Harvin would be mandatory to help uplift there offense.

    Does Harvin ever practice?

  42. By Parody on Aug 20, 2011 | Reply

    Camarillo is not a lock. He did nothing last year, and has yet to make a significant showing this year. There are enough guys fighting for a spot on the WR squad, that everyone outisde of the top-3 ought to be in jeapardy of losing their jobs.

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