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Updated: August 24th, 2014 2:27pm
Counting snaps: Blanton, Sherels see extended time at Kansas City

Counting snaps: Blanton, Sherels see extended time at Kansas City

by Andrew Krammer
1500ESPN.com
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In this weekly post, we'll take a look at snap counts from each game, starting with the Minnesota Vikings' 30-12 exhibition win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night. 

Defensive snaps (68)

Safety
Harrison Smith: 41
Robert Blanton: 34
Andrew Sendejo: 29
Kurt Coleman: 26
Chris Crocker: 10

DNP: Antone Exum, Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond

Thoughts: Sanford and Raymond both exited before seeing any snaps on defense after being injured on special teams. Raymond made one tackle in kick coverage. The Vikings made most of Blanton's preseason debut after he sat out training camp with a hamstring injury, though both Sendejo and Smith led all safeties with five tackles apiece on the night. At this point, it appears the competition to start next to Smith may be down to the four that played in Kansas City. Exum sat out on defense for the second straight game after playing 90 percent of the preseason opener, when the Vikings were without four safeties. 

Cornerback
Marcus Sherels: 47
Captain Munnerlyn: 41
Xavier Rhodes: 41
Derek Cox: 29
Shaun Prater: 22
Josh Robinson: 7

DNP: Robert Steeples, Julian Posey, Kendall James, Jabari Price (injured)

Thoughts: Josh Robinson (hamstring) wasn't planning on playing, but ended up starting with the nickel defense on the opposite side of Rhodes. He saw just seven snaps in his preseason debut as Marcus Sherels once again led all defenders after seeing a team-high 61 snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. Sherels, Cox, Prater and even Robinson are in the mix for the Vikings' third cornerback spot with one exhibition left before the season opener. 

Linebackers
Anthony Barr: 41
Audie Cole: 33
Larry Dean: 28
Jasper Brinkley: 27
Chad Greenway: 20
Michael Mauti: 15
Mike Zimmer: 5

DNP: Gerald Hodges (injured), Brandon Watts (injured), Justin Jackson

Thoughts: Even with Hodges and Watts out, second-year linebacker Michael Mauti still didn't get much playing time as the Vikings gave long looks to Barr, Cole and Dean. Cole and Brinkley continued to swap snaps at middle linebacker, which is one of three unsettled jobs in the starting defense along with strong safety and nickel corner. Cole led the Vikings with eight combined tackles (seven solo), but was also bested on a few plays in coverage. 

Defensive line
Everson Griffen: 38
Brian Robison: 35
Shamar Stephen: 34
Corey Wootton: 33
Tom Johnson: 32
Sharrif Floyd: 30
Scott Crichton: 29
Fred Evans: 20
Chase Baker: 9
Isame Faciane: 9
Justin Trattou: 5

DNP: Linval Joseph">Linval Joseph (injured), Jake Snyder, Tyler Scott, Kheeston Randall

Thoughts: Griffen continues to be a consistent force off the edge for the Vikings, which should be expected after his $42.5 milliong contract extension in the offseason. Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher took to cutting Griffen as the Chiefs migrated to quicker passes as Alex Smith and Tyler Bray were sacked five times combined, to go along with three additional hits. Robison saw reps in a two-point stance, as well as at three-technique as the Vikings continue to feel out their pass-rushing front. Johnson led all Vikings with two quarterback hits; he also worked as a defensive end in a 3-3 front that stood Robison up. Stephen continues to get long looks at nose tackle with Linval Joseph">Linval Joseph still out.

Offensive snaps (55)

Quarterbacks
Matt Cassel: 39
Teddy Bridgewater: 18 

DNP: Christian Ponder

Thoughts: There shouldn't be any doubt that Cassel will be the Week 1 starter for the Vikings as Mike Zimmer gave his veteran 2 1/2 quarters to work with on Saturday night. Cassel's longest passes came on the opening drive, including a 53-yard touchdown to Cordarrelle Patterson. The offense cooled after that, before interception and punt returns set up Bridgewater for two touchdowns on his first two completions on the night. 

Running backs
Matt Asiata: 24
Jerick McKinnon: 18
Joe Banyard: 9
Zach Line: 7
Jerome Felton: 7
Dominique Williams: 6

DNP: Adrian Peterson

Thoughts: The Vikings held Adrian Peterson out, meaning he shouldn't see any action this preseason. The offensive line helped pave the way for 5.3 yards-per-carry average for the running back corps, including a 24-yard dash by McKinnon and a 22-yard run by Williams. The Vikings are averaging 5.1 yards per carry in the last two exhibition games, which should be encouraging for an offense that's tuning up without Peterson. At this point, Peterson-Asiata-McKinnon should be the order on the depth chart heading into the season opener, with Felton as the fullback. 

Tight ends
Kyle Rudolph: 34
Rhett Ellison: 21
Allen Reisner: 12
Mike Higgins: 11
Kory Sperry: 1

DNP: Chase Ford (injured) 

Thoughts: Rudolph is averaging 21.2 yards per reception this preseason after he posted two catches for 38 yards on Saturday night. Norv Turner lined Rudolph out wide more than before against the Chiefs as Turner's four-receiver sets appear to be using Rudolph as the fourth receiver when he's split wide. Reisner caught both touchdown passes from Bridgewater for his only two receptions, while Ellison was not targeted in the passing game. 

Receivers
Cordarrelle Patterson: 38
Greg Jennings: 35
Jerome Simpson: 23
Jarius Wright: 15
Rodney Smith: 13
Adam Thielen: 9
Andy Cruse: 1
Erik Lora: 1

DNP: Ty Walker, Donte Foster, Kamar Jorden, Kain Colter

Thoughts: Simpson's lone target on the night was an ill-advised decision by Cassel to squeeze a pass into double coverage downfield, which ended as Cassel's lone interception. The Vikings averagted 14.8 yards per reception, but a drop by Patterson and a catch ruled out of bounds by Jennings capped their production. Patterson was targeted a team-high five times and hauled in three catches for 71 yards, including the 53-yard touchdown. Wright's role has been somewhat limited, though he still saw the fourth-most snaps of all receivers on the night. If the Vikings elect to keep the traditional five receivers, it's down to Smith and Thielen, who also had a 75-yard punt return. 

Offensive line
Charlie Johnson: 39
Matt Kalil: 39
John Sullivan: 39
Brandon Fusco: 38
Phil Loadholt: 23
Austin Wentworth: 23
Vlad Ducasse: 19
David Yankey: 18
Mike Remmers: 18
Joe Berger: 17
Antonio Richardson: 11
Jeff Baca: 1

DNP: Kevin Murphy, Pierce Burton

Thoughts: Loadholt (leg) left early due to injury, which opened the door for Wentworth at swing tackle. On the first play, Wentworth was overpowered by Jaye Howard, who poked the ball out of Cassel's hands in the endzone to force a safety. The line gave up three sacks, but were maulers in the run game as the Vikings rushed for 148 yards; eight of the team's 17 first downs were gained on the ground. The Vikings are still searching for a swing tackle as Wentworth, Remmers and Richardson each got looks as reserves. Ducasse led all backup guards with 19 snaps, leading Yankey (18) and Baca (1). Entering the fourth exhibition, it would be surprising to see Baca, a sixth-round pick in 2013, make the 53-man roster after seeing minimal work this preseason.

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
Email Andrew | @andrew_krammer
In this story: Matt Asiata, Jeff Baca, Chase Baker, Joe Banyard, Joe Berger, Robert Blanton, Teddy Bridgewater, Jasper Brinkley, Matt Cassel, Audie Cole, Scott Crichton, Larry Dean, Rhett Ellison, Fred Evans, Antone Exum, Jerome Felton, Sharrif Floyd, Chase Ford, Brandon Fusco, Chad Greenway, Everson Griffen, Gerald Hodges, Greg Jennings, Charlie Johnson, Tom Johnson, Kamar Jorden, Linval Joseph, Linval Joseph, Matt Kalil, Zach Line, Phil Loadholt, Michael Mauti, Captain Munnerlyn, Kevin Murphy, Cordarrelle Patterson, Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Mistral Raymond, Allen Reisner, Xavier Rhodes, Josh Robinson, Brian Robison, Kyle Rudolph, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo, Marcus Sherels, Jerome Simpson, Harrison Smith, Rodney Smith, John Sullivan, Adam Thielen, Corey Wootton, Jarius Wright
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