Vikings rest most key players, start 20 backups in preseason finale
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MINNEAPOLIS -- As expected, the preseason ended early for most of the Minnesota Vikings' starters.
Coach Brad Childress hinted early in the week he was considering playing at least his first-unit offense in Thursday's preseason finale. But virtually every significant player on offense and defense was out of the Vikings' announced starting lineup against the Denver Broncos.
On offense, the starting lineup was to include quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, running back Albert Young, fullback Ryan D'Imperio, receivers Taye Biddle and Greg Camarillo, tight end Jeff Dugan and offensive linemen (from left) Patrick Brown, Chris DeGeare, Jon Cooper, Ryan Cook and Drew Radovich.
On defense, it was defensive linemen (from left) Jayme Mitchell, Fred Evans, Letroy Guion and Brian Robison; linebackers Heath Farwell, Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson; cornerbacks Asher Allen and Lito Sheppard; and safeties Tyrell Johnson and Colt Anderson.
Most players, including quarterback Brett Favre, did come out in pads and go through late pregame warm-ups. The only official scratches were cornerback Chris Cook (knee) and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, although roughly 25 key players weren't expected to play at all.
Center John Sullivan (calf strain) was on the field roughly 2½ before kickoff, playing catch and jogging briefly.
Two players who missed practice this week, receiver Logan Payne and strong safety Jamarca Sanford, did not dress for the game because of unknown injuries. Two others, running back Toby Gerhart (knee) and tight end Garrett Mills, were in uniform.
Not dressing for the Broncos -- who planned to play their starters a quarter or so -- were receivers Brandon Stokley and Demaryius Thomas, cornerback Andre Goodman, safety Darcel McBath, offensive lineman Russ Hochstein, defensive lineman Jamal Williams, tight end Daniel Graham and outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Darrell Reid.
Stanley Daniels started at left guard for Zane Beadles and Riar Greer at tight end for Graham. On defense, Ronald Field stated for Williams and Perrish Cox for Goodman.