Cowboys vs. Vikings: 5 More Things to Watch in Vikings' Preseason Week 3 Matchup

Kelly ManginContributor IIIAugust 26, 2011

Cowboys vs. Vikings: 5 More Things to Watch in Vikings' Preseason Week 3 Matchup

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    On Saturday the Minnesota Vikings will host the Dallas Cowboys in their third game of the 2011 NFL Preseason. It will mark the first game played in the Metrodome since the facility's roof collapsed during a snow storm last December.

    The Vikings' starters will play the first half and possibly into the third quarter against the Cowboys, giving Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff a good look at issues that need to be addressed before the start of the regular season.

    Earlier this week, Featured Columnist Ray Tannock provided us with five things to watch when the Vikings take on the Cowboys.

    I would like to add to his list by giving you five more things to watch for this Saturday during the Vikings' third preseason game.

    Also, check out my preseason Week 1 and Week 2 report cards.   

    Follow me on twitter @KellyMangin

The Return of Anthony Herrera

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    Anthony Herrera will make his 2011 debut this Saturday against the Cowboys. 

    Herrera has something to prove as he returns to the starting lineup following offseason surgery on his triceps and ACL.

    If Herrera were to suffer a setback or not perform well, Chris DeGeare or Ryan Cook would likely be in line to start Week 1 of the regular season when the Vikings head to San Diego to take on Philip Rivers and the Chargers

Roster Spots Being Earned on Special Teams

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    The Vikings have many young players on their preseason roster that are fighting to stay with the team, whether it's on the active roster or the practice squad. 

    How these players perform on special teams could ultimately determine if they make the roster. 

    Several players including Marcus Sherels, Ryan D'Imperio, Larry Dean and Devon Torrence will need to take advantage of every opportunity they are given if they want to stay in Minnesota.  

Position Battles Coming into Focus

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    The Vikings have a few position battles that are still up for grabs. This Saturday the Vikings' coaching staff will try to sort them out. 

    There is still an opening at the right guard position (depending on Anthony Herrera's status) and at the backup wide receiver positions, but the most important competition might be at safety, where Jamarca Sanford, Tyrell Johnson and rookie Mistral Raymond are fighting for a starting spot opposite Husain Abdullah.

    With only two preseason games remaining, the Vikings are hoping that some of their young players will step up. 

Starters to Continue Building Momentum

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    The Vikings' first-team offense and defense both showed improvement in their second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, and they will try to continue their progress this weekend against the Cowboys.

    The Vikings' first-team offense has yet to score a touchdown this preseason, and since most of the starters won't play much, if at all, in the last preseason game, they need to look sharp on Saturday.

    The defense doesn't have a new scheme to learn, but there are a few new faces in the starting lineup. They will face a good challenge this weekend against Tony Romo and the Cowboys' offense.  

Webb to Unleash the Wildcat

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    This Saturday Joe Webb will be the No. 2 quarterback behind Donovan McNabb. However, he may see some time with the first-team offense.

    It has been reported that Webb may be used in a wildcat-type formation against the Cowboys. 

    Leslie Frazier knows that Webb is far too talented to be standing on the sideline holding a clipboard, so look for the Vikings to creatively use Webb's dynamic skill set in any way they can. 

    Webb is a lot of fun to watch when he is on the field, and this weekend we may get a sneak peek of things to come.