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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings-Titans: 10 (or so) players who stood out

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their preseason against the Tennessee Titans. Here are the players who stood out…

DE, Stephen Weatherly

The 2016 seventh-round pick has been known as a “project” over the last two years, but it appears he is growing into the players the Vikings hoped he would be. Weatherly has been the Vikings’ best preseason defensive lineman and in Tennessee he dominated again, picking up a QB pressure, a QB hit (that was weirdly penalized) and a sack on the first drive. The question now is whether he has worked his way into some type of defensive line rotation.

LB, Eric Wilson

While the Vikings’ defense allowed Tennessee to move the ball early, Wilson was one of the most impressive players on the Minnesota side — and has been almost every time he’s been in the game this preseason. He made several key tackles chasing down the Titans’ running back. Wilson began the preseason as a pure special teamer, but might have earned himself some occasional playing time.

OL, Danny Isidora and Brett Jones

Interestingly, Isidora started at center and Jones at guard, but they switched in the second half. That could hint at Isidora starting Week 1 at center, but it seems more likely that the more experienced Jones would open the season as the starter in the middle and then move over the left guard when Pat Elflein returns.

Rick Spielman said on the broadcast the team wanted to get a look at different combinations up front.

CB, Holton Hill

The fourth preseason game was important for the top rated undrafted free agent, who hasn’t had many outstanding moments during the preseason. In the first quarter, he missed a tackle, which has been an issue in preseason games, but also made a terrific play in coverage. Thursday did not do much to force the Vikings to keep him, though they may be intrigued enough with his ceiling (and afraid of another team signing him) to find a way to put him on the roster. Hill did pick up a 53-yard kick return to open the second half.

RB, Mike Boone

Unfortunately Roc Thomas suffered an ankle injury early in the Vikings’ final preseason game after gaining 12 yards on four carries and catching two passes for 15 yards, cutting short his last opportunity to close the gap between he and Mike Boone in the competition for the No. 3 running back spot. Boone came into the game in the second quarter and busted off several impressive runs and then added a 46-yard reception in the fourth quarter. While it appears Boone will win the job, it would make sense for the Vikings to keep Thomas on the practice squad.

QB, Trevor Siemian

Last year the Vikings did not play backup quarterback Case Keenum in Week 4, so it’s notable that they sent Siemian out for the entire first half against the Titans. Clearly they cannot be thrilled with his preseason performance to date, though he has been decent in training camp practices. He finished the first half going 6-for-11 with 55 yards.

QB, Kyle Sloter

The Vikings’ No. 3 quarterback opened the second half with a 15-play drive that led to a field goal. He went 3-for-5 with 23 yards passing and showed off his quickness with an 11-yard rush. In the fourth quarter, Sloter benefited from terrific run after catch from Mike Boone but failed to get into the end zone and then he wrapped up the preseason by dropping a dime to Brandon Zylstra for a touchdown. Another solid game for Sloter (but Siemian is still the backup).

WR, Brandon Zylstra

Heading into Thursday night’s game, Zylstra needed to show that he is deserving of a spot on the 53. While he did not dominate the game, he may have done enough to show he can play. In the fourth quarter he made a terrific grab on a fade pass for a touchdown. The ex-CFL star also had a 20-yard catch earlier in the game. The Vikings did not play Kendall Wright against the Titans, which would indicate he is the No. 4 receiver. The status of Stacy Coley could influence whether Zylstra and/or Chad Beebe make it.

RT, Brian O’Neill

If there was any question where O’Neill stands on the depth chart, he played the entire fourth preseason game, indication that Rashod Hill is the unquestioned starter at right tackle and Aviante Collins is probably the second stringer at this point. However, O’Neill had another solid night and, while it’s clear the team views him as a work in progress, has shown that he has grown significantly since draft day.

DT, Jalyn Holmes

The Vikings’ fourth-round pick picked up a 1.5 sacks in the game, continuing his strong preseason despite a position change from playing defensive end in college. He is a lock for the roster and may see some snaps during the regular season, but it’s an extremely deep group.

K, Daniel Carlson

After much trepidation about Carlson’s two misses in Seattle, he had a flawless night in Tennessee, meaning that there is no kicking competition for now. Of course, both field goals were chip shots.

The post Vikings-Titans: 10 (or so) players who stood out appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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