ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Greetings from Jerry World, the gigantic monument to American football that the Cowboys call home. In a little under an hour, the Vikings will play their all-important penultimate preseason game.
As I wrote in today’s paper, the Vikings starters are expected to play into the second quarter. Whether they stick around after halftime will depend on whether they satisfied coach Mike Zimmer with their performance.
Two starters will not play, though. Running back Adrian Peterson will not touch the football in his homecoming because it’s the preseason and the Vikings won’t risk injury with him. Center John Sullivan, meanwhile, has not practiced in 10 days due to back spasms, so he is out tonight.
Also out for the Vikings are tight end MyCole Pruitt, offensive tackle Carter Bykowski, nose tackle Shamar Stephen and cornerback Josh Robinson.
The Cowboys are expected to be without star wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Still, this will be a tough test for the Vikings, especially their defense, in this final tune-up. The Cowboys were the NFC East champs last year and have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, led by left tackle Tyron Smith.
Keep an eye on Gerald Hodges, who will start at middle linebacker for the first time in his life. That position battle remains wide-open in late August.
At safety, Antone Exum will return from a hamstring injury, so keep an eye on him, too. That being said, Robert Blanton can probably cement a starting spot as long as he doesn’t have an awful performance here at Jerry World.