3 Keys To The Vikings v Raiders Preseason Game

The Minnesota Vikings kick off their preseason on Sunday at 3:25 PM CST on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders. Preseason games are not as much about winning as they are about evaluating the depth of talent on the roster. Here is what is going to have to happen for the Vikings to have a successful first preseason game.

1. Somebody Needs to Step Up At Quarterback

The bar is low. A few weeks into Vikings training camp, the backup quarterback position has never looked so dire. There has been an open competition between Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond, and neither quarterback seems to want the job. Mannion has in large part been the same Mannion we have known for years: a guy who does not have the ability to win you a game but certainly has the ability to lose you a game. Mond brought much more hope to fans when he was drafted as a long-term project at the quarterback position. Those expectations have been entirely crushed through his rookie year and the start of his second training camp. Reports say he has been woefully inaccurate and is lacking NFL-caliber velocity on his throws. Now with Kirk Cousins testing positive for Covid-19, both guys will have ample opportunity to give the fans and coaching staff something to be optimistic about. Rumors have been swirling about the Vikings possibly trading for a backup quarterback, so if Mond or Mannion do not step up, they could find themselves packing their bags instead of preparing for week one against the Green Bay Packers.

2. Cameron Dantzler and Andrew Booth Jr. Battle it out for CB2

Patrick Peterson is clearly going to start as the number one cornerback for the Vikings, but he is getting the week off so we will get to see a lot of one of the more promising position battles on the roster. Cameron Dantzler and Andrew Booth will be lining up opposite of each other to start the game and we will hopefully get to see a side-by-side comparison of the two against one of the more potent receiving duos in Davante Adams and Hunter Renfroe, even if it is just for a series or two. These three preseason games are going to go a long way in deciding who gets the nod as the second cornerback to start the season. Both Dantzler and Booth have shown flashes in camp so far, but both players have also struggled a bit with consistency. Thus far Dantzler is likely the betting favorite to win the job is the incumbent and has been slightly more consistent through camp, but the race is far from over and Booth is certainly not going to just give up the job.

3. Christian Darrisaw Proves the Hype is Real 

Early in Vikings training camp, everyone has been raving about the improvements second-year left tackle Christian Darrisaw has made. There was a comparison in play style (not talent level!) to Trent Williams that got blown out of proportion and picked up by every NFL media outlet out there. Whether this comparison is justified or not, one thing is clear: Christian Darrisaw looks like the left tackle of the future so far in practice. But that’s the issue, practice. He had a solid rookie season but he has not come close to reaching his full potential on game day. That is something that he has a chance to prove this weekend. He may have an opportunity to go up against Chandler Jones and/or Maxx Crosby, two of the best edge rushers in the league. This will prove to be a good test for Darrisaw to show that the hype in practice is truly who he is against competition outside of his own teammates. Those teammates, Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, are some of the best in the business which should indicate that there will be no reason to think that his success will not translate.
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