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Vikings will use ‘different combinations’ on offense vs. Bills

Mike Zimmer wasn’t being hyperbolic when he said Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings defense is so far along they could have played a game last week.

Every player on the first-team defense has been with the team since at least last year and many have played in Minnesota for Zimmer’s entire tenure.

The offense, however, is a different story. This offseason, the Vikings revamped their offensive line, signing tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers and drafted likely starting center Pat Elflein in the third round. They also added receiver Michael Floyd and running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray.

So when the Vikings open up the preseason against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Zimmer will be focusing on the offense to grade their progress in Mankato.

“Offensively we’ve been kind of working with the system and exploring some different options and things,” Zimmer said. “Think for them it will be good to go against someone else to gage where we’re at.”

While Zimmer wouldn’t say exactly how long Sam Bradford and the first team will play, there are likely to be some players mixed in with the second team, possibly with different roles.

“We’ll have some guys play a little bit longer,” Zimmer said. “when the first group goes out maybe we’ll keep some other guys in and maybe look at some different combinations of things.”

The most obvious “different combinations” that the Vikings could use are on the interior offensive line. During practice, centers Nick Easton and Pat Elflein have occasionally taken snaps at guard. We could see both on the field at the same time against the Bills.

At wide receiver, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen aren’t likely to play much, but Jarius Wright could see extended time as the Vikings continue to evaluate where he fits in the offense. Wright has been taking first-team snaps with Laquon Treadwell sidelined.

Running back could be another area where the Vikings experiment. Jerick McKinnon and Dalvin Cook have lined up at receiver at different times during camp. Will they show opponents that using them in receiver roles is possible? Will they share the field at any point? And how often will we see fullback CJ Ham in the mix?

Once the second team and third teams do take the field, the backup quarterback performances will be worth watching. Zimmer said Tuesday that neither Case Keenum or Taylor Heinicke has the lead in the competition for QB2.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I can’t hardly wait for the game to get here ~ I know they are not really game planning for this game but it will be my first chance to see the young guys in action ~ Plus the OL should show improvement and I’m looking forward to watching try to gel ~ It’s going to take the whole preseason before they have a good idea what the guy next to them is going to do ~ Hopefully they will come together long before game one ~ I’m just excited ~

    • Jordan Musser

      Gordon I share same sentiment however mine is due to the fact we will actually have our entire team playing not like years past when we would go through these games without certain players especially our starting rb1. Now this truly gets everyone on same page and allows us to build chemistry and also try things before the real games start. I feel we were always hampered going into the season without our main squad on the field

  • MB

    It’s gauge, not gage.

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    • PurpleFaithful

      Your post makes me want to gag, not gage.


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