Ten players didn’t make the trip to Cincinnati for the Minnesota Vikings and won’t take the field in the team’s first preseason game of the year. They’re joined by Adrian Peterson and Brandon Fusco, who traveled with the team but will not suit up tonight.
A few notable names include Jarius Wright, Terence Newman, Marcus Sherels, and Eric Kendricks; all were starters in 2015 and expect to remain so when the regular season begins.
The full list of players, per the Vikings’ official Twitter account:
Not expected to play:
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 12, 2016
Fortunately for the Vikings, tonight’s matchup marks the “unofficial” start of football. Games won’t technically matter until September, when the Vikings travel to Tennessee for the first regular season of 2016. And, depth on Minnesota’s roster is so strong that many of tonight’s losses open the door for others to shine.
According to Vikings Public Relations, Audie Cole, Jerick McKinnon, Trae Waynes, and Shamar Stephen will start in the place of those on the sidelines. Cole, a longtime reserve, will man the middle of Zimmer’s defense with Kendricks out. Waynes, who has a real chance to start at left cornerback this season, can erase memories of his first career preseason game with a solid outing tonight.
Stephen missed almost all of 2015, but has drawn praise from coaches and can continue to cement a role on the defensive line with extra snaps tonight. But it’s McKinnon, the fan favorite and fantasy football sleeper, who can prove to the team that he’s more than a third-down back. Behind a re-tooled offensive line, more snaps tonight may lead to more opportunities when the games matter most. He’s thrilled to have the opportunity, per Chris Tomasson.
Jerick McKinnon on starting "It’s a good chance to let it loose… A great time to show the coaches what you can do in game-time situations"
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 12, 2016
Joe Berger will start at right guard and John Sullivan will start at center.
Preseason football isn’t the pinnacle of excitement, but fans will get their first real look at the Vikings in months. Rookies like Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander should steal the spotlight, and Teddy Bridgewater, no matter how many snaps he plays, will draw attention from the Twitter masses.
Football is back; enjoy!