Access Vikings Logo

Blog

Access Vikings

Breaking news and year-round coverage of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Access Vikings is the Star Tribune's blog covering team news, rumors, games and all things purple.

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Most underrated Vikings player, less intrigue with line cuts and more

Every weekday, we walk you through what’s going on with the Vikings.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Who is the most underrated player on the Vikings roster? A few of those most-underrated candidates offered their opinions on the matter.

— There is no need to worry about how Trae Waynes fits into the mix. No, he won’t be a starter. But he will still have a significant role as a rookie.

— Offensive coordinator Norv Turner feels the first-team offensive line still needs to jell. So might we see that group tomorrow against the Titans?

— The Vikings waived quarterback Mike Kafka, meaning Taylor Heinicke will get plenty of time to make a case for a roster spot tomorrow night.

— Center John Sullivan has now been sidelined two weeks with an injury.

AROUND THE NFC NORTH

— New Lions tight end Tim Wright is trying to quickly get up to speed in the offense, but the Lions might hold him out of their preseason finale.

— The NFL’s new protocol for concussion testing can at times frustrate players, but many Packers are happy that changes have been made.

— Bears pass rushing Pernell McPhee, the team’s big offseason addition, played his way out of the Muck and still uses it as motivation today.

TODAY’S VIKINGS SCHEDULE

Today is a travel day as the Vikings fly to Nashville for tomorrow’s game.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

A few weeks ago, with 11 or 12 linemen vying to make the 53-man roster after the preseason, it looked like recent draft picks such as David Yankey and Tyrus Thompson might be in danger of not making the cut. However, the season-ending injuries to tackles Phil Loadholt and Carter Bykowski have taken much of the intrigue out of the final roster cuts along the offensive line. Now Yankey, Thompson, Austin Shepherd and Zac Kerin appear to be vying for the final three roster spots there, assuming the Vikings enter the season with nine linemen. So keep an eye on those guys tomorrow night.

Turner: Vikings offensive line still needs to jell

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner wouldn’t say how much the starters will play, if at all, in Thursday’s preseason finale at Tennessee. But on Monday head coach Mike Zimmer said those who needed to play would. Judging from how Turner talked about his offensive line after practice Tuesday, it’s a safe bet that many of the team’s starters on the line will get some work.

“We have a lot of work to do in the offensive line and we don’t have a whole lot of time to get it done before the opener,” Turner said.

Getting the offensive line to jell has been difficult because of injuries and youth.

Losing right tackle Phil Loadholt for the year early in the preseason didn’t help. The fact that center John Sullivan has been unable to practice or play for nearly two full weeks hasn’t helped either.

The good news: The left side of the line in tackle Matt Kalil and guard Brandon Fusco has played very well, by all accounts.

But the right side of Mike Harris at guard and rookie T.J. Clemmings at tackle needs more work. Harris is making the transition from tackle to guard, and he hasn’t had a lot of work with Sullivan on his left. On his right is an athletic, but green, rookie.

“They are two young players, in terms of Mike being new at the position and T.J. being a young player,” Turner said. “Jeff [Davidson, offensive line coach] does a great job with them. But there are challenges ahead for us. People start attacking you in terms of your scheme and personnel [in the regular season]. We haven’t seen that yet.”

Here are some other post-practice notes:

Fans finally got to see a long Teddy Bridgewater-to-Mike Wallace completion last week. For some, it was about time. Turner, though, expressed no concern that there haven’t been more big plays to Wallace in the preseason.

“If he was a guy who was a rookie and hadn’t made plays in the games you’d say, ‘We have to see it in games,’ ” Turner said. “He’s not in that category.”

Turner said Wallace has been very good in practice. Indeed, Turner expects a big season from the veteran.

“He’s played a lot better in the last two years than people give him credit for,” said Turner of Wallace, who had 140 catches for 1,792 yards and 15 TDs the past two seasons for Miami. “If we get him to catch 65 balls and have 10 touchdowns or nine touchdowns, he’ll make a great contribution and help our team.”

Indeed, Turner doesn’t want any of his receivers or tight ends to have numbers that dwarf the rest of his teammates. His goal is to spread the ball around, with one or two players stepping up big each game. “If they all contribute, we’ll have a better offense,” he said.

Today's Scoreboard

< >
  • Arizona

    Colorado

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Tampa Bay

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    11

    2

  • Cleveland

    Toronto

     

    - F

    3

    5

  • Miami

    Atlanta

     

    - F

    7

    1

  • NY Yankees

    Boston

     

    - F

    3

    1

  • Philadelphia

    NY Mets

     

    - F

    14

    8

  • Cincinnati

    Chicago Cubs

     

    - F

    4

    5

  • Seattle

    Houston

     

    - F

    7

    5

  • Detroit

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    6

    5

  • Pittsburgh

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    4

    7

  • Chicago White Sox

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    6

    8

  • Washington

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    5

    8

  • Arizona

    Colorado

     

    - F

    5

    3

  • LA Angels

    Oakland

     

    - F

    6

    2

  • San Francisco

    LA Dodgers

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • Texas

    San Diego

     

    - F

    8

    6

  • Atlanta

    New York

     

    - F

    75

    80

  • Connecticut

    Indiana

     

    - F

    51

    81

No games for MLS

Connect With Star Tribune Sports