For the first time since December 5, 2010, a National Football League game will take place at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, as the Dallas Cowboys will make the trip north to take on the Minnesota Vikings in pre-season action.
As you'll no doubt recall, the roof of the Metrodome collapsed back on December 12, 2010 because of a heavy snowstorm in the Minneapolis area. That resulted in two Vikings home games being moved. . .their game against the New York Giants took place at Detroit's Ford Field, and they hosted the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. . .and all sorts of havoc being wreaked in general. Now the roof has been repaired, the playing surface has been replaced, and the Vikings can play their home games in front of their home fans in their normal friendly confines.
The third pre-season game of the year is generally regarded as the most important, as the starters generally play into the second half of the game and we start to get a feel for what the teams are generally all about. In light of that, expect Donovan McNabb to see the majority of the snaps for the Vikings' offense this evening, with Joe Webb playing with the second teamers and Christian Ponder mopping things up with the third team.
One of the bigger situations that we will keep an eye on for the Vikings is how the battle for the tight end position will shake out. Visanthe Shiancoe will once again sit out with his nagging hamstring injury, which means that rookie second-round pick Kyle Rudolph will get the majority of the looks at that spot. Rudolph has been one of the most impressive players in camp thus far this pre-season, and with Bill Musgrave's new offense looking to feature the tight ends, Rudolph could find himself at the top of the depth chart by the end of the pre-season. The battle for the right guard spot is still going on, as Anthony Herrera was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list. Herrera tore his ACL towards the end of last season, and will be attempting to win a battle for the right guard spot that includes rookie DeMarcus Love and second-year man Chris DeGeare, among others.
Kickoff from the Metrodome. . .and it does feel good to say that again. . .is scheduled for 7:00 PM Central time. The game will be carried on local television on KARE-11, and you can hear the radio call on the Vikings' new home, 100.3 FM.