The Minnesota Vikings were without a few starters last week, and that will be the case against the Seattle Seahawks tonight. Many of the names on this evening’s inactives list should play next week in what many consider to be a regular season “tune up.” But for now, a cautious approach means the Vikings will take the field with a lineup that’s very different from the one we’ll see in Week 1.
The full list, as well as starter changes, includes:
— Vikings PR (@VikingsPR) August 19, 2016
The only new addition is Tre Roberson, the quarterback-turned-cornerback who impressed in his first action last Friday. Gone from the list are Adrian Peterson, Marcus Sherels, and Terence Newman. Peterson isn’t expected to play, as he rarely suits up for the preseason, but Neman will return and likely start at left cornerback. Sherels, the team’s designated punt returner, may field a few kicks tonight.
Shamar Stephen had a nice outing against the Bengals last week and will have another opportunity to shine against the Seahawks. He missed almost all of 2015 with a foot injury, but is turning heads at Vikings practice and continues to carve a role in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
At middle linebacker, Audie Cole should get a few more snaps this week. As the Vikings inch closer to Week 3 of the preseason, the starters will see a little more time on the field, and that means more opportunity for the career backup. It’s Eric Kendrick’s spot to lose when he’s healthy, but Cole is trying to stand out in a rather deep linebacker room.
On offense, Joe Berger will once again get starting snaps at right guard. He’s the team’s most versatile interior offensive lineman, but was expected to compete with John Sullivan at center. That’s likely the case, but until Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris return from injury, he’s stuck manning the right side of the offensive line.
Starters will see more playing time tonight, but it’s still a showcase for the rookies and backups. With roster cuts looming, now is the time for those on the bubble to put up or shut up.