Five Minnesota Vikings Storylines to Watch During the Second Preseason Game
The Minnesota Vikings will try to sort out different roster spots on Saturday as they host the Indianapolis Colts. Here are five storylines to watch for.
As the Minnesota Vikings get closer to the start of the regular season, there are many different members of the roster that the team needs to get more clarity on. From all indications, this preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts may provide the best look at what this Vikings team will be in 2021. That being said, here are five storylines to watch for on Saturday.
1) How Long Will the Starters Stay on the Field?
Head coach Mike Zimmer indicated throughout the week that the starters will suit up and take the field on Saturday. How long? He didn't have a precise answer for that saying that he told the coaches to "just tell them to play until I tell them to get out."
Fans should be excited to see the return of defensive end Danielle Hunter and a revamped defensive line featuring Dalvin Thomlinson and Michael Pierce. Those three guys will command most of the attention to start the game. Offensively, we'll see how long Kirk Cousins stays in the game and how the current first-string offensive line (Hill, Cleveland, Bradbury, Udoh, and O'Neill) performs.
2) Will D.J. Wonnum or Stephen Weatherly Secure the Defensive Edge Starting Role?
D.J. Wonnum and Stephen Weatherly have been in a battle all offseason to determine the other starting defensive end opposite of Hunter. Both guys should have an equal opportunity this weekend against the Colts.
Defensive end Everson Griffen is also sitting back and waiting to see how this battle plays out this weekend. Griffen had a tryout with the Vikings this week. If Wonnum and Weatherly don't perform up to the coach's expectations, the Vikings could potentially sign Griffen to help bolster the depth at the line.
3) Is this Dakota Dozier's Final Game?
Let's just be honest. Dakota Dozier was disgustingly terrible last season for the Vikings. Dozier was also awful in last week's preseason game against the Broncos. Outside of being a guy that the Vikings could potentially use across the line in the event of an emergency, there's not much of anything to gain having him on the roster.
Vikings third-round pick Wyatt Davis struggled when he initially took the field last week. He did settle down as the game continued to progress. If Davis shows he can hold his own, and Dozier puts on another terrible performance, the end could be near for Dozier.
4) Will Cameron Dantzler Bounce Back?
Cameron Dantzler was burned on an 80-yard touchdown last week against the Broncos. After being a bright spot last year as a rookie, most anticipated that Dantzler would take a step forward this season. He left a lot to be desired after the first preseason game. Dantzler is currently behind Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, and Mackenzie Alexander (slot corner) on the team's depth chart.
Will Dantzler bounce back this week or has he solidified himself as a depth piece for the Vikings? We'll find out more on Saturday.
5) Keep an Eye on Special Teams
Zimmer was heated after last week's performance and he even placed a target directly on Vikings punter Britton Colquitt. As we know, Zimmer has no patience for special teams players that don't perform. Colquitt can't afford to have another bad preseason game.
Vikings kicker Greg Joseph is another player to watch if he has opportunities for field goals and extra points this weekend. Joseph was signed this offseason after spending most of last year on the Buccaneers practice squad. Last week he converted on field goals from 34 yards and 25 yards out.
Last year, the Vikings were terrible on kickoff and punt returns. Anything positive will be an improvement from last year.
Those are five storylines to pay attention to this weekend. Minnesota and Indianapolis will kickoff at 7:00 PM on Saturday night.
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