An oldie, but a goodie.
Now there are plenty of folks who usually take little interest in the first preseason game, primarily due to the fact that starters see very limited playing time, but with a whole offseason wasted and a shortened camp, many fans are champing at the bit for some action.
Well, they’ll get plenty of it this weekend.
For Vikings fans, however, there are five distinct things they want to see in this game, even if it is just the first of the season.
So let’s get right to it, shall we? And when you’re done, take a trip over to my fantasy football Top 50 WR Rankings for all you fantasy football fans.
The quarterbacks are the most obvious mention here as Viking fans are undoubtedly interested in not only seeing how far their quarterback of the future (Christian Ponder) has come, but how well their quarterback of the present (Donovan McNabb) is doing in his short time as a Viking.
Ponder has had more time to acclimate himself to the offensive system, spending a bit more time with the playbook, the players and coaches.
McNabb is the walk-on veteran who is expected to NOT have a tough time handling a brand new system, even though he’s never ran it before.
I guess we’ll see who’s who.
To me, this is the most exciting area of the team to watch, especially since it is the first preseason game.
The Vikings have a lot to decide upon with this O-line.
Who is going to play where, who will be healthy and how to improve upon a dismal 2010 season are all questions the coaching staff have to figure out, and they are questions the fans want answers to now.
The main key point to watch will be what the team does with Ryan Cook, and how much playing time they give to Chris DeGeare and DeMarcus Love.
These are the three players that represent new pieces to the puzzle; pieces that could potentially have a bigger impact than those who played last year.
I think with a little modification, this offensive line has more potential than its previous version, and hopefully we'll see a bit of that Saturday.
The secondary situation is an equally intriguing area of this team to watch, particularly the cornerbacks.
Antoine Winfield returns as the penciled-in starter and is coming off of a very nice 2010 campaign, but aside from Winfield, the other four players are up in the air.
Chris Cook looks to prove last year’s horrid season was just a passing, Asher Allen looks to seal the deal with the coaching staff and rookie Brandon Burton looks to solidify himself some long-term employment.
Veteran Cedric Griffin will not play, and the team hopes to have him in the lineup by the second or third game of preseason as he is still recovering from ACL surgery.
The Vikings' secondary will get a nice test with the Titans' starters, who will be led by Matt Hasselbeck, and they should also get another nice test when the Titans feature their QB of the future, Jake Locker.
I am particularly interested to see Titans TE Jared Cook versus the Vikings' secondary.
Aside from individual areas of the team or individual player analysis, many are simply wondering what the changes to this offense will look like, and whether or not the changes will effectively translate on the field.
Will there be some rust? Sure. But it is another key focal point to hone in on when watching this game.
What will the team do with the double tight-end sets outside of running the ball? How has the passing game changed? What new strategies will the coaching staff deploy? Who is comfortable and who is not?
These are all issues everyone should be focusing on, since it is our first real-time exposure to it under the lights.
More specifically, Vikings fans should also be looking at the newly designed 3-wide sets, which will feature a plethora of new faces.
An excellent test for both teams.
The Vikings' offense is of particular interest here with the addition of Devin Aromashodu, Michael Jenkins, and of course, Donovan McNabb.
Devin Aromashodu showed flashes of a legitimate threat on the field last year, but never quite gelled with the Chicago coaching staff.
Even Jay Cutler petitioned for Aromashodu to be played more, but the coaching staff wouldn’t budge.
That’s fine, because the Vikings have him now.
Then there is the underrated Michael Jenkins.
A lot of people thought Jenkins was very ineffective in Atlanta, and they mainly support this notion by mentioning his low stat totals.
But the majority of them never shed light to the fact that Jenkins was used more as a blocking receiver instead of sole passing option.
In other words, his stat lines only tell roughly half the story, and are otherwise misleading.
Jenkins has the size and speed to be a downfield threat or an over-the-middle option depending on what set this team deploys.
The idea is the Vikings will go with Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian on the outside when in double tight-end formation.
In the 3-wide sets, Harvin will move to the slot with Bernard Berrian and either Aromashodu or Jenkins on the outside.
The Titans struggled a bit with inconsistency in coverage last year, which is also an area of interest to keep an eye on.
It’s going to be an exciting first preseason contest, filled with a host of things to keep an eye on, so make sure to not miss a single snap.
Hopefully, we'll see some strong performances from the key areas mentioned this weekend.