With the preseason finally coming to an end, the Vikings will turn their attention to roster cuts and the Super Bowl defending New Orleans Saints. The roster must be cut down to 53 by Saturday, September 4.
There are some intriguing battles going on, but roster cuts must be made especially at the wide receiver and cornerback positions. The Vikings currently have 10 wideouts and corners on their roster. It looks like Javon Walker may have secured a spot on the team with his performance against the Denver Broncos in the Vikings' final preseason game. Walker caught four passes for 87 yards and a 63-yard touchdown.
However, the fact that I am even mentioning Javon Walker making the team makes you wonder if the Vikings are ready for the Saints come Thursday, Sept. 9. With injuries spreading throughout camp, including wide receiver Sidney Rice having hip surgery and rookie corner back Chris Cook tearing his meniscus, the Vikings have some glaring holes come kickoff at the Superdome.
These main holes are at corner back and wide receiver.
First, in the secondary, the Vikings thought they had figured out the secondary by adding a couple corner backs in the offseason including Cook and veteran Lito Sheppard. Unfortunately, injury has caused the Vikings to suddenly become weak at a position they thought they had strengthened.
Sidney Rice's hip surgery caused the Vikings to trade corner back Benny Sapp for wide receiver Greg Camarillo. Although Camarillo looked good in his first action with the Vikings, having to lose Sapp to acquire him quickly became painful with Cook's injury.
The Saints' high-flying passing attack awaits in the Superdome to begin their Super Bowl defense on Sept. 9, and unfortunately, the Vikings' secondary just doesn't look ready. Add in Cedric Griffin still recovering from knee surgery and the Vikings will be using a variety of corners to stop third and fourth wide receivers on the Saints. Second-year corner Asher Allen and Sheppard look to get the most action alongside starter Antoine Winfield.
Although the Vikings were able to contain the Saints' passing attack in the NFC Championship Game, it is going to be hard to contain them with a banged up secondary and a suspect duo at safety in the NFL Season Opener.
The offense will also be wise to run the ball and get it in the hands of Adrian Peterson. With Brett Favre's favorite target in Sidney Rice out, he is still figuring out his chemistry with the likes of Camarillo and Harvin. Camarillo and Favre looked like they were starting to figure that out in the team's third preseason game, but could look rusty come week one.
Bernard Berrian will need to step up in Rice's absence as well if the Vikings are going to do damage through the air. Berrian hasn't played up to his hefty contract and this is finally the time for Minnesota to get some bang for their buck.
However, with the Vikings not clicking on all levels offensively and defensively at the moment, they could be in for a tough day in New Orleans. The Vikings will need to control the clock and get pressure on Drew Brees in order to walk away with a victory.
If the Vikings let Brees pick this banged up secondary apart, it will be a long day for Vikings fans.