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Hodges: 'Pretty confident' that he will be a Vikings starter

NASHVILLE — The Vikings still haven’t named a starting middle linebacker, but one of the leading candidates is confident that he will be the guy.

Gerald Hodges, who made his second straight start at middle linebacker tonight, said after the 24-17 loss to the Titans that he believes he will start.

“I’m pretty confident at this point,” he said. “It just depends where.”

Hodges, who had never started a game at the position in his life until five days ago, made one tackle tonight in about a quarter of work. He recorded a team-high four tackles in the win over the Cowboys last Saturday night.

“I felt pretty good in there again,” Hodges said. “They just wanted me to get in there and get used to seeing some alignments heading into Week 1.”

Rookie Eric Kendricks again replaced Hodges when the Vikings went to their nickel and sub packages. He then took over for Hodges in the base defense in the second quarter. He finished the game with four tackles.

Audie Cole, who started the first two preseason games at middle linebacker, entered in the third quarter. It appears he is no longer in the mix to start.

Coach Mike Zimmer was noncommittal when asked about the linebacker battle, saying that he needs to go back and watch the tape from tonight.

But after talking with Hodges, it sure sounds like he is going to be the guy.

Heinicke impresses Zimmer, makes a case for a roster spot

NASHVILLE — If Taylor Heinicke didn’t show the Vikings enough tonight to earn a roster spot, surely one of the NFL’s other 31 teams took notice.

Heinicke shrugged off a few hard hits to complete 27 of his 41 for 279 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers in the 24-17 loss to the Titans. He nearly rallied the Vikings back from a 14-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, but a fourth-down penalty and failed conversion foiled their plans.

The Vikings have said they would prefer to carry three quarterbacks. But coach Mike Zimmer has also said the Vikings would keep their best 53 men regardless of position, and the team is deeper than it was last preseason.

While Zimmer wouldn’t say tonight whether Heinicke had done enough to make the team, he was complimentary of the rookie QB’s performance.

“He’s a tough kid. He hung in there. He got back [up]. He had good control of the offense. He made some good throws in the two-minute drill at the end,” Zimmer said. “There was a lot of things that happened throughout the course of the game where he showed that he’s got something to him.”

If Heinicke doesn’t survive Saturday’s final roster cuts, he is certainly to be a candidate for the practice squad if another team doesn’t claim him first.

But Heinicke made it clear that he hopes to stick around with the Vikings.

“That’s not in my hands. That’s in their hands. That’s their decision,” the former ODU standout said. “But I’ve had a great ride from OTAs until now. I learned a lot and I think I’ve grown as a quarterback and I hope to be here and I want to be here and keep learning from Teddy [Bridgewater], Shaun [Hill] and Scott and Norv [Turner]. I think they’re the best in the business.”

Today's Scoreboard

  • Chicago White Sox



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    Kansas City


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    - Bot 8th



  • Chicago

    New York


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  • Washington

    Los Angeles


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