Week 4 of the NFL Preseason is among us. That means that, aside from a few battles for starting jobs, most of the starters will not play. If they do, it will be for a very brief period.
The Minnesota Vikings Preseason Matchup will be against the Tennessee Titans. A few years ago, there would have been a bit more excitement about this game. Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were once highly touted first round passers, but both have led pedestrian careers and neither one really brings up images of John Elway or Dan Marino.
Whoever said that week 4 in the preseason is ever really that exciting? For some of these guys, this will be their final shot to make an NFL roster. That makes it exciting and meaningful to them and the coaches. Only true Vikings fans will be watching this game, and we will be keeping a close eye on a few players in particular.
This is the game where a good game by a wide receiver could affect whether or not a defensive back gets cut. A poor game by a quarterback could mean a linebacker gets his shot. The numbers game is so fascinating that I’m going to give you three guys to watch, and who’s job they could be after outside their own position group.
Rodney Smith – The tall wide receiver has a knack for the big play and fancy toes on the sideline. If Rodney Smith plays well tonight, it could mean unemployment for cornerbacks Shaun Prater or Kendall James.
Joe Banyard – This guy has bounced around the league for a couple years but has always been on the bubble. If he shows off his skills tonight, he could find himself on the opening day roster. Tight ends Allen Reisner or Chase Ford could be looking for work if Banyard has a nice game.
Brandon Watts – This guy is likely to be a special teamer if he makes the final roster, but this kid has plenty of potential and even found himself running with the first team for a time in training camp. He’ s a practice squad candidate if he gets cut (and clears waivers), but his success could spell disappointment for DE Justin Trattou or DT Chase Baker.
While the worst players won’t necessarily be the ones getting cut, the coaches will have to decide if keeping four running backs is better than keeping six cornerbacks or four tight ends, for example. The team needs to ensure it has enough talented players to contribute should injuries or poor performance occur.
Take a good close look at the game tonight. The scrubs are in, and they have the most to fight for.
Here’s hoping for a good game, no injuries and hopefully these guys will give the coaches plenty to think about.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.