Game two of the Vikings’ preseason is set for today. They travel to New York to take on the Bills, a team that seems to have been rebuilding forever, but may be starting to find its groove.
The Bills hope to have found their franchise QB in this year’s draft with EJ Manuel, the first QB off the board and the only one drafted in the first round. However, he is not in line to take the reigns quite yet. Currently he is in the middle of a competition with journeyman Kevin Kolb to become this year’s starter, and since EJ started last week’s game, the Bills want to give the start to Kolb this week so that both guys get an equal chance to earn the job.
The Bills have announced that a number of their top-tier players will not be playing on Friday, including Stevie Johnson, TJ Graham, Leodis McKelvin and Kiko Alonso. They’re also saying that they want to limit the number of snaps that TE Scott Chandler receives, as he’s still not 100% recovered from a knee injury he suffered last December. That means that the Vikings will be seeing a lot of unproven players early on who are fighting for a spot on the roster, and that they should counter with a similar plan.
Two expected to start for the Vikings didn’t play at all last week due to injury, and both have not yet played a down for the Vikings, so they could be exceptions just so that they start to get a feel for the team on the field. Desmond Bishop was injurd all of last year, and missed the first preseason game because of a minor injury. It will be improtant that he gets at least a few series with his new team in each game before he becomes the starter on the outside – a new position for the 7th year LB. Rookie first round draft pick Xavier Rhodes was also kept out due to injury. He has plenty of potetarter in the league, but needs to learn when to back off the contact to the receiver. As a rookie who’s expected to be the second starting CB, he’ll need plenty of in-game reps to be ready for the regular season.
Other starters should probably see much less time, as the team tries to analyze the players who are fighting for a roster spot and decide who deserves to remain on the team. Hopefully Ponder gets more than just a single series this game, so that he gets a chance to show the fans that he has made improvements in the offseason. Overall, I’d expect the majority of the game to be played by new additions and players whose contract is in question. The result of the game is anybody’s guess, but also immaterial. Look forward to seeing an unknown player get a highlight reel play. Expecting anything more than that will be setting yourself up for disappointment.