After the build-up and importance we attach to the 3rd preseason game, it’s easy to write-off the 4th preseason game as meaningless. But in Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier’s eyes, the Vikings preseason finale will be anything but meaningless.
For starters, 1st-round draft pick Christian Ponder will get the start at QB. Ponder and Joe Webb have been alternating turns at QB for the entire training camp and preseason, and Thursday’s game will be a continuation of that rotation. But it sounds like the game will also be another opportunity for Ponder and Webb to create some separation in their competition for the backup job behind veteran Donovan McNabb.
“It’s a big game for not only for our quarterbacks, but for a lot of guys trying to make our roster,” Frazier said on Monday after practice. “But we definitely want to see both guys – Christian, along with Joe – create some separation for that number two (quarterback) spot. Maybe this game will be an indication of which guy will be number two.”
Frazier said the main thing he’ll be looking for from Ponder on Thursday night is continued improvement. Whom exactly Ponder – and Webb – will be playing with on Thursday night remains to be seen. Frazier didn’t indicate whether any first-team players would line up with Ponder early in Thursday’s game.
The focus on Thursday will not be exclusively on the QB position, however. Frazier indicated there are plenty of positions still open for competition, even in the starting lineup.
“We still have some competitive work to be done at certain positions,” Frazier said. “I think the guys know going into this final game there are still some opportunities for them to make our team and help our team improve at a number of different spots. So we do have certain spots where we know we have our starters in place, but we have some places up for [grabs] as well.”
Frazier didn’t get into specifics as to which positions are still open, but a few areas to watch include: FB/TE, WRs #4-6, reserve DL, LB and OL and starting safety opposite Husain Abdullah. There are likely also several special teams positions still up for grabs, including at punt returner.
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