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5 Things To Watch Tonight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 27, 2011 – 10:26 am

Tonight the Vikings will play their third preseason game of the 2011 season and it’ll be against the Dallas Cowboys at Mall of America Field. First-teamers will get extended looks tonight, which is why the third game of the preseason is considered so important.

With that in mind, here are five things to watch during tonight’s Vikings-Cowboys contest…

A TD from the first-team offense
The first-team offense took a big step forward last week in Seattle after a mediocre outing in Tennessee to open the preseason. Expect another step forward this week from Donovan McNabb and Co. It would ease a lot of souls – everyone from Vikings coaches to Vikings fans – if the first-team offense could find a way to move the ball and score a TD or two. To this point, McNabb has looked comfortable in the offense and he’s spread the ball around to a variety of receivers. Tonight, though, watch for the running game to improve a touch and for McNabb to find a way to attack vertically.

Cedric Griffin and Anthony Herrera coming back from injury
A pair of starters are coming back from serious knee injuries this season – CB Cedric Griffin and RG Anthony Herrera. Griffin has had a nice training camp and he’s looked good in the little time he’s seen on the field. Tonight, though, he’ll likely get his first extended action since the injury and the Vikings will be focused not only on how he performs during the game but how his knee feels after the game. With Herrera, he’s slowly been brought along during training camp and tonight is the first time he’ll play in a game at all since the injury. Just as is the case with Griffin, it will be as important how Herrera feels after the game as how he plays during the game. Head Coach Leslie Frazier said earlier this week that the one thing the coaches will be looking for is Herrera’s explosion coming off the ball. If he can show signs of regaining that explosion and he can come away from the game with minimal soreness, then the feisty veteran will be one (major) step closer to returning to the starting lineup.

Pressure on Cowboys QB Tony Romo
One of the positives I took away from the Vikings performance last week in Seattle was the pass rush from the first-team defense. Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson was rarely allowed time to sit in the pocket and find an open receiver, which was a large part of why the Vikings were able to shutout Seattle in the first half. Tonight the Vikings will see an offensive line that is a touch better and a QB that is much better. If the Vikings can still find a way to pressure the passer tonight, we know they might have something going this year in terms of pass rush after a less-than-stellar pass rush last year. I think the secondary is going to be better than most people think this year, but an effective pass rush will make the secondary look even better.

Another strong performance from Chris Cook
One of the bright spots in last week’s victory over Seattle was the performance of CB Chris Cook. He was lined up against former teammate Sidney Rice for much of the first half and he held his own by frequently jamming Rice at the line of scrimmage and even being involved in a pass breakup in the endzone. If Cook can step up and perform well as the team’s 3rd CB, the Vikings defense will be stronger. With Cook in the lineup, the Vikings nickel package features two big, physical CBs (Cook and Griffin) on the outside and then Antoine Winfield sliding inside to play the slot receiver. That’s the lineup Frazier prefers to see out there and if Cook plays well tonight, that vision comes one step closer to being realized.

Competition at WR
One of the position battles still raging is at WR, where the top 3 are set (Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins) but the next two or three are still open. I’m not sure if the Vikings will keep five or six WRs, but either way there are jobs still available. We won’t count anyone out, but the guys I’ll be watching tonight are Devin Aromashodu, Greg Camarillo, Juaquin Iglesias and Jaymar Johnson. The next tier of guys are Manny Arceneaux, Stephen Burton and Andre Holmes. Aside from performance in the offense, another factor in determining which players will earn roster spots is special teams. Johnson can increase his value by proving effective in the punt return game, while Aromashodu has increased his value by making a pair of special teams tackles.


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Posted in All | 99 Comments »


99 Responses to “5 Things To Watch Tonight”

  1. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I still don’t like that Bernard is in the top 3 wr convo..

  2. By Jeff on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Don: I agree. Players should have to *EARN* their roster spots, and I haven’t seen Berrian do ANYTHING in 2010, training camp, or the preseason that should earn him a guaranteed starting position.

  3. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    In the NFC championship game two years ago, Bernard, the Berrian, was our leading receiver with 9 receptions for 102 yards. He also made several key plays to keep drives alive.

  4. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Seeing only with the physical eyes has its limitations on future greatness.

  5. By Tedzand on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Berrian only has that spot because the Vikes are paying him so much.. there’s still some politics and buisness involved in everything; it would look silly to be paying him so much and not have him as a top 3 starter at WR. Vikes need to just trade him now before all is lost; the guy has no drive and refuses to make a play on the ball. When it’s up for grabs, he just gives up and lets the opposing CB have a free interception. The only top 3 spot this guy should be filling on the roster is #3 on the gatorade mixer depth chart.

  6. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Tedzand,

    If Berrian is as bad as many bloggers say he is, then it will be nearly impossible to trade his high dollar contract !

    Like everyone else on the Vikings, B. Berrian will have to prove himself to the coaching staff.

  7. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    In the NFC championship game two years ago, Bernard Berrian was our leading receiver with 9 receptions for 102 yards. He also made several key plays to keep drives alive.

  8. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobschall,

    I find it hard to believe that the Vikings and Cowboys have only played each other 28 times in over 50 years !

    Can you check the accuracy of this statistic?

  9. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    He also had 9 receipts for like 85 yard versus the Cardinals last year !

    The thing I’m not seeing is Berrian being the “deep threat.” He doesn’t seem to have any SPEED ! !

  10. By Stoney on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Didn’t the vikes re-do Berrians contract? I must agree, he has shown nothing so far. All I hear about is one game (NFC championship) 2 years ago, give that one a rest, if you go back 3 or 4 years I’m sure McKinney had a good game.

  11. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Fred, that does not seem so hard to believe. In fact, 28 times would equate to about every other year– very believable– he must be including playoffs and preseason, otherwise 28 would seem too high. Remember, they are not in our division.

  12. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    No. Stoney I will not give it a rest. Last year was a debacle for all the Vikings– even Jared Allen looked so so the first half. The great Favre never got in a rhythm. The O line was horrendous. ETC. So, going back to the very last game prior to the forgettable 2010 season is not only logical, it is fair. Berrian was our leading receiver in that game– a big prime time game, no less, with 9 receptions for 102 yards. He will show greatness this season.

  13. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Tedzand – You don’t know how much Berrian is making this year, so you should consider that before you state an opinion. Because the reality is that your opinion makes no sense because of the fact that Berrian restructured his contract.

    Regardless, Berrian has in fact earned his spot in the top 3, regardless of salary.

  14. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Well stated, Mike.

  15. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I agree with you Titus, the whole team vomited on the playing field last year not just BB. It all started with the O Line and their struggles. Did anyone put up respectable numbers last year? Favre did what he always did when backed up, that’s put the whole team on his shoulders to try and get the W. Sometimes it worked (Cards), sometimes it didn’t (most of the other games lol) but that’s what made him the ultimate river boat gambler

  16. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Thank you VegasVike– I just try to stand in the gap to provide a rationale perspective.

  17. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    oops– rational

  18. By benard berrian on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    No true story I suck.

  19. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Recess time. Go out and play!

  20. By Viking Joe on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Give Berrian some credit, he’s who the Vikes have, quit hating, let’s see how he does this year, have some faith, if not this year then cut him !!!

  21. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    A lot of QB’s find their favorite WR, it just so happens Rice was Favre’s. If McN and BB gel I think we won’t have any worries.
    Moon to Carter
    Johnson to Reed (and Carter)
    Cunningham to Moss (and Carter)
    Culpepper to Moss (and Carter)

    Why isn’t CC in the HOF??

  22. By Nicholas on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Mike W.

    I cannot wait to see your prophecy come true. GO Vikes!

  23. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb should play well tonight– how many times has he played the Cowboys? Probably close to 30 if you include the playoffs.

  24. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Titus, do you know what McD’s record is against the cowgirls? I don’t, just wondering…

  25. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    No, I don’t, but at least he knows them well.

  26. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Ahh, not so good recently, but in his first 6 years, McNabb was 9-2 against the Cowboys, while lately not so good — lost 7 of his last 10 before going to Washington.

  27. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    The wonder of Google–

  28. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Yikes! Well hopefully tonight will be a turning point. FYI, I tried looking it up on Mr Google and all I got was some stuff about a soup that eats like a meal.
    I’m shut out on the game tonight, I can’t find anywhere in Vegas to watch it!

  29. By Stoney on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Titus, calm down dude, you need to relax a little, I could suggest something. I hope you’re correct and Berrian has a great year, I’m just saying that I haven’t seen it yet. Berrian should be a leader on this team.

  30. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Well, you can read the blog! I have never watched so much preseason in recent memory– usually I ignore it completely– I think with the lockout, I am thankful for every chance to watch any game.

  31. By NYViking on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Watch B.B. have a great game tonight with the starting unit in place. I predict he’s going to prove his value as a top receiver on this team. Cant wait til tonight.

    Go Vikes.

  32. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t care what nobody is talking about..bb reminds me of a robot..stiff and only runs straight..and not even that good..not a 1wr..if you ask me i would put him at 4th wr

  33. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    i hope i am wrong about him tho..

  34. By vikesfansteve on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Titus, he also had a back breaking fumble.

  35. By duckworthy54 on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    well i for one think this new offense will be a lot more effective. The NFL is explosive and if McNabb can find some open recievers or handoff to AP or Toby and get it going in a hurry from the line then its going to be better then waiting for a long play to develope down field. The short field pass is quick and our big physical tight ends and running backs can do some up field runs after the catch. should be fun to watch tonight and see if the team is jelling.

  36. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t think Fraizer is the type to put up with underachievers, if BB does not pull his own weight Les will do something about it. I wish him good luck until then, let’s give the guy some good karma. He doesn’t make a stink about his contract or point fingers, seems like a team player to me. Let’s hope he blows the roof of the place! Oh wait…..

  37. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    “off” not “of” sorry, ruined my own joke

  38. By steve on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @vegasvike try atdhe.net i was wtching games on it online last year

  39. By CA Norwegian on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I remember an amusing story from our counties history via the Pbs website. It included the story of the ‘Democratic Cowboys.’ who stipped across the border south of Texas and raided the Mexicans. Interesting the original Cowboys and Vikings both raided south. Though the Vikes rode warships and the cowboys rode horses.

    I am not anti-BB, buit agree the other new guys hold more promise. I like receivers who can throw blocks, and I am glad they got Jenkins, but I was upset about no interest in big Plax at the time. BB seems tp get pushed aside easily without contesting the Ints from Favre. But he can be very fast, excellent at catching up to the overthrows. They can work with that.

  40. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Ok Steve, thanks I’ll give it a shot.

  41. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Whoa Steve!! That site has been seized by Homeland Security!!

  42. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    send me your email @vegas..ill send you a link

  43. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    it won’t let me post it

  44. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    http://www .firstrowsports. eu/sport /american- football .html

  45. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I think it is only fair to ask Bernard Berrian to prove his worth, sincew he has not lived up to our expectations, other than in a few games……

  46. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Let;s go Vikes………beat the whining Cowboys especially that crybaby Keith Brookings……

  47. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Fred- You and I both play tennis. Do you play in usta leagues, tournaments or just socially?

  48. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    we need our 1st offense to score a TD……..

  49. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Don, I’ll try that

  50. By Jayson Kriedler on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Please! While there is still time! Talk to Randy Moss! Give him anything he wants! Just get him back on the Vikings one more time!!!

  51. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    anyone have insight into why we cut McKinnie? I know it was for being overweight, but doesnt it seem drastic to have simply cut him? Couldn’t he have lost the weight if we put him on PUP?
    He will now be ready for Baltimore……..considering our O line needs, I guess I do not understand the logic here……

  52. By VegasVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Jackpot!! Looks like I better run to the store and get some game grub! Thanks Don!

  53. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    and believe me, I was not a McKinnie fan……but still…..

  54. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    KKKKKKIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL ROMO………….I guess that makes me a…….. ROMOPHOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @vegas..anytime

  56. By Titus on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Nova– are you feeling the storm yet?

  57. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Titus,I think this one is going to be nothing more than a good downpour by the time it hits this neck of the woods. Boston tomorrow afternoon,we will see it Monday But you never know about hurricanes.

  58. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    right on Nova- I knew ya had it in ya

  59. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    romophobically speaking of course

  60. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I’m a ROBOPHOBE>>>I NEED HELP!!!!! (I Wonder if the Canadian Gov. will pay for my medication????????????

  61. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Just think, this guy just had a bachelor party with no booze and he played hide-and-seek with 17 other guys. It’s easy to be a ROMOPHOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    haha good one Nova

  63. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    take 2 Viking sacks and call me in the morning

  64. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    ROCK, how are you, buddy?

  65. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    steady as as rock,Nova…how bout you my northern friend?

  66. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Great, great since the word is that Irene seems to be dying out.

  67. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Good thing, my friend………now let’s hope the vikes can open up a can of whup a.s.s on the gauchos……

  68. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll just call them Cowgirls, so I don’t sound ROMOPHOBIC

  69. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    how about romoboys….

  70. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Can you imagine being in NYC without any public transport? Or being stuck there??????????

  71. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    or backbreak mtn boys…..

  72. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    oops my bad…..brokeback mountain boys……..naw thyer thayts betta.

  73. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I love NYC, but cannot imagine it without public transport……….that really would suk

  74. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I went through a category 4 /cane years ago in Bermuda . The next day the cars were in the ocean and the boats were on the roads……SCARY

  75. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Titus- Ya there? Let’s root on the Vikes, man………

  76. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    nevere4 been in a hurricane,…..must’ve been crazy…….

  77. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Woodboat? Shawn? OLD SCHOOL? FRED?…………

  78. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    moorevikes?

  79. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    where y.all at, man?

  80. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Nova- Let’s hope out 1st offense can score…………

  81. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Bermuda’s built for them….I watched (in awe) as telephone poles started snapping and palm trees with roots the length of parking lots were uprooted.

  82. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t mess with Mother Nature and kill that little pansy ROMO.

  83. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    dang………

  84. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    then, back to business as usual?

  85. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Rock, I have to pay for this one tonight.

  86. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Yea that’s one thing I’m looking for to see if 1st team offense can score..how are o line holds up..AND ARE SECONDARY HOLDS UP..

  87. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    right on Don…….
    Nova ya gotta pay? what up?

  88. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Gotta go……will be back once game starts………

  89. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t exactly live in the Minnesota area. Doesn’t matter, been playing to watch them for years, whether flying thousands of miles to watch them in person or in my living room.Been doing it for40+ years. Nobody can ever question my love of this team.

  90. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t get mad at me ppl but when did we let go of lito sheppard

  91. By NovaScotiaVike on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    *been paying

  92. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Can’t lie kinda excited to see the dome..and how loud the crowd will be..

  93. By Steeleman3 on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    I like Iglesias and Jaymar Johnson. Havent seen anything from the other two that stands out to me. Camarillo could be a good slot/posession guy and do special teams as well. Havent seen too much of Aromashodu to form an opinion yet but thats how I feel for now. Would love to see 2 TDs from first team or at least one. Want to see Berrian do something. As for pass rush, Seattle’s line sucks so I want to see something this week as it’s more of a test for them. I want to see our whole Defense in general do a little better, seems like they’ve been a bit ‘soft’ so far. Lastly, want to see a dominant O-Line and improved ground game.

  94. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Rocky,

    These days I mostly just run and lift weights. Because of injuries it has been difficult to play competitively. But I have managed to improve the velocity of my serve, which can’t be too common at my age. Maybe next year ! ! !

    Are you a competitive player?

  95. By Don on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    BB is showing up

  96. By Rocksalt on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Fred-
    Have been for years but have slowed my tournament play,age,,,,etc My NTRP rating 4.0

  97. By THedge on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    Any word on what happened to Winfield?

  98. By Frederick Jones on Aug 27, 2011 | Reply

    @Rocky,

    I’ve heard that being a 4.0 on the NTRP is pretty good. I’ve never done that myself.

  99. By sandiamond on Aug 28, 2011 | Reply

    I think Coach indicated it was minor with Winfield but we have seen the last of him in preseason. Expected to be 100% ready for sept 11

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