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Bleacher Report – Vikings

5 questions heading into Vikings-49ers

By Matthew Coller

Who will start on the offensive line?

Between injuries and a tight battle at center, the Vikings haven’t had an opportunity to put their starting five O-linemen on the field for a preseason game. On Sunday, Riley Reiff and Alex Boone are expected to be back in the lineup after missing the Vikings’ tilt against the Seahawks. And a final decision should be made between Pat Elflein and Nick Easton, who have each played well during preseason and camp, and split playing time and practice reps. The only wild card scenario could be if both Elflein and Easton start and Joe Berger comes off the bench but that would be quite a surprise.

How long will the starters play?

After seeing Julien Edelman and Tyrod Taylor both suffer injuries, it’s possible Mike Zimmer could dial back playing time for his top players. The Vikings’ head coach has said that his defense could have played a game weeks ago and that he’s considered playing starters less to avoid injuries. Will he actually buck the long-held NFL trend of using the third preseason game as a tune up?

Will Bucky Hodges win a job?

The Vikings’ big, speedy rookie showed signs of life last week, catching two long passes at the end of the matchup with Seattle, but Hodges has largely been a non-factor during camp and the preseason. Both Mike Zimmer and Pat Shurmur have complimented his growth, but also pointed out that he’s being asked to learn a lot in a short period of time. Heading into the matchup with San Francisco, Kyle Carter is ahead of Hodges on the depth chart. But if the 6-foot-6, 247-pound tight end has a big game, it could improve his case for a roster spot.

What will we see from Latavius Murray?

When Murray signed in Minnesota, he probably believed he would be the No. 1 running back. He might have still believed that after the Vikings picked Dalvin Cook in the second round, but now it appears Cook will at very least be a prominent part of the offense, which leaves Murray’s role to be determined. His playing time and usage will be worth watching vs. the 49ers. Will he get the start? Or not play until the second half? Will the Vikings show some two-back sets? Or use Murray just in short yardage situations?

Will one of the kickers emerge?

Kai Forbath and Marshall Koehn have battled closely all through camp with neither separating themselves from the pack. Koehn has a terrific leg but Forbath has more experience and good range himself. Neither had gotten much of a chance to show of in real games. Will Sunday be the deciding moment between the two?

The post 5 questions heading into Vikings-49ers appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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