Tonight was initially thought to be the night that Minnesota Vikings' star running back Adrian Peterson would make his return from the torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus he suffered last Christmas Eve. However, with the Vikings making the decision on Tuesday that Peterson won't play at all this pre-season, that is no longer the case. That doesn't mean that tonight's game isn't important for the purple and gold.
The third game of the pre-season is generally considered to be the most important one. The starters usually play longer in the third pre-season game than they do in any other, and that will be the case this evening. Minnesota's starters will likely play the entire first half, and possibly into the third quarter as well. For a team that is still young and is still trying to build timing and rapport, tonight's game could give us a gauge of what we can expect this season.
Quarterback Christian Ponder has looked pretty good this pre-season, particularly in last Friday's win over the Buffalo Bills. In just over a quarter of work, Ponder completed 10 of 13 passes for 136 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Felton. Yes, it is the pre-season, but Ponder looks to have built chemistry with receiver Jerome Simpson and tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings will start dialing back Simpson's snaps starting tonight, however, due to the fact that he will miss the first three games of the regular season and the team needs to get used to working without him.
On defense, a week after getting crushed in the running game by the San Francisco 49ers, the Vikings bounced back impressively against the Bills. It's amazing how much better a defense can look when you plug in three Pro Bowl-caliber players that didn't play in the opener (defensive end Jared Allen, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and cornerback Antoine Winfield). One concern for the Vikings is that cornerback Chris Cook is still suffering the effects of a concussion he suffered in the win over the Bills, and will not see any more game action this pre-season. Veteran Chris Carr and rookie Josh Robinson will see increased snaps in his stead. That could play a big role in the battle for the #3 cornerback spot that both of those men are fighting for.
If you want to follow along with the action this evening, here's where you can find it.
TV Broadcast: KARE-11 will carry the game, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 PM Central time. If you are unable to catch the television broadcast live, the NFL Network will be re-airing the game at 2:00 AM Central. Or just set your DVR. That would probably be best. Two in the morning is awfully early.
Terrestrial Radio: KFAN-FM 100.3 and KTLK-AM 1130 in the Twin Cities will be carrying the game. Check with your local Vikings Radio Network affiliate to see if they'll be carrying the action.
Satellite Radio: Since the Vikings are at home, their feed will be carried by XM Satellite Radio on Channel 225. If you have the Sirius/XM app for your smart phone or if you're listening on the internet, you can also get the Vikings' feed on Channel 817. If, for some reason, you're looking for the Chargers feed, you can find it on Channel 825.