Thursday, August 30, 2007

5 Goals for Tonight

The Vikings have one last preseason game to go [Thank God!], and still quite a few questions to answer about their roster. The starters aren't going to play much (with probably one exception), but there's still going to be a lot going on. So without further ado, the five things the Vikings need to accomplish tonight:

  1. Get yo' stats. Get paid. Don't. Get. Hurt.

Pretty self explanatory. The last thing anyone wants is for one of their starters to go down during their one series on the field.

  1. Choose between Mike Doss and Tank "Tank" Williams.

It’s looking like Greg Blue is going to make the team as the third safety, due to his play so far, cost, his upside and his special teams play. That leaves Mike Doss and Tank “Tank” Williams to fight it out for the final spot. Doss didn’t play in the last game and neither one of them practiced this week, which will greatly increase the amount their play tonight factors into the decision. One blown coverage or missed tackle by either player could be enough to get them the pink slip. I see the Vikings keeping Doss because of the similarities between Tank and Blue, but the extent of Doss’ calf injury could be a huge factor.

  1. Pick two of the following: Troy Williamson, Martin Nance, Billy McMullin and Chandler Williams

As I’ve been saying this week, the Vikings seem set to keep Bobby Wade, Sidney Rice, Aundrae Allison and Robert Ferguson. They aren’t going to keep more than six receivers, which means there are only two more spots to fill. None of them have done much in the first three preseason games. Williamson has been a non factor in games (except for when he drops passes), but that doesn’t mean the Vikings are ready to admit they got nothing out of Randy Moss. While he hasn’t done enough to win the starting kick returner job, Williams has done a decent job returning kicks so far. Billy McMullin has shown he can be a relatively dependable fourth receiver and Nance has the ability. I think the Vikings are going to keep Williamson and Williams, because they aren’t ready to give up on their former #1 pick yet and because Williams brings skills to the table that Nance and McMullin do not.

  1. Decide on who’s starting on the right side of the line.

Ryan Cook had two false starts last game (not good—false starts correlate with losing. And players that have false started in the past tend to continue to do so), allowing Marcus Johnson back in the picture at Right Tackle. Anthony Herrera and Artis Hicks continue to rotate at guard. Lines that play together perform better, but unless one of the guards can consistently outperform the other and Cook stops making mental mistakes, it won’t matter who starts Week 1. The Vikings are going to use all four of them during the course of the season.

  1. Fill the final defensive lineman spot with Fred Evans, Khreem Smith or Jayme Mitchell

The Vikings aren’t keeping more than nine defensive linemen. Right now, they have five defensive ends (Udeze, James, Robison, Scott, Edwards) and three defensive tackles (The Williams Brothers and Spencer Taylor) with roster spots. Smith and Mitchell have both played well during the preseason, but both are defensive ends, something the Vikings have a surplus of. Evans had a limited impact in his time against the Seahawks (2 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and he’s a true defensive tackle. While the Purple could get away with keeping another end due to Darrion Scott’s ability to play DT, it’s better to keep another true defensive tackle. That, combined with the fact they’re looking for Pat Williams heir, means that Evans will make the team.

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