An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game



Minnesota Vikings vs Arizona Cardinals Preseason Week 3 Preview

The Arizona Cardinals get ready to take on the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium Saturday after their week of joint practices together at TCO Performance Center in Eagan, MN.


Minnesota Vikings 

Starters for both teams will likely not play as usual, but that gives young guys and veterans fighting to make the final 53 a last chance to show what they’ve got. Many believe Cousins and Mullens will both sit out on Saturday, leaving 5th round pick Jaren Hall and XFL OPOY Jordan Ta’amu as the 2 against ARI.

Ta’amu was picked up earlier this week and looks to make his preseason debut. He’s got to impress General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O’Connell a lot for them to even think about taking him over Hall.

Hall on the other hand, has not performed as most people thought he would have, but that could be due to poor offensive line play. Now that he will play in the first half means he will get to play with the backup offensive line instead of the 3rd strings.

Mattison will rest, along with Ham, but don’t be surprised if they give Ty Chandler the game off as well. He’s secured himself that RB2 spot but there’s uncertainty of who will be the RB3 and potentially RB4 behind him.

Aaron Dykes, who was brought in last Thursday before the Tennessee game, displayed great kick returning ability and solid rushing skills. He had 3 rushes for 19 yards and 22.4 yards on kick returns with his longest being 38.

Kene Nwangwu won’t play again due to injury and his spot on the team is certainly in jeopardy. He hasn’t practiced in weeks and with the new kick return rules, he isn’t as valuable as before.

The teams 7th round pick DeWayne McBride got his first touchdown as a Vikings last week but will need to prove more if he wants to be on the team coke Tuesday.

Abram Smith seems like a lost cause now so I wouldn’t expect much from him.

Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn will rest as well, but Jordan Addison (recent concussion) and Jalen Nailor (recent leg injury) are not guaranteed to play either. Nailor is assumed to be WR4 or 5 right now but his leg injury is tough because he only practiced 2 times all camp.

Jalen Reagor, Brandon Powell, Trishton Jackson, and Thayer Thomas will all see the field a ton Saturday. They seem like the 4 wide receivers battling for the final spots.

Blake Proehl is coming off a bad game against Tennessee which might have ended any chance of him making the team. Garett Maag is back from injury but hasn’t done much at all to contribute. Lucky Jackson is a little too far down the depth chart to make a push for the team this late, especially with his dropped touchdown today, but anything can happen. Same with Jacob Copeland.

T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, and Johnny Mundt more than likely will be out again. Nick Muse, Ben Sims, and Colin Thompson are all coming off great games but the 3 tight end spots seem to be taken after O’Connell called Mundt the “Best TE3 in the league.” The team is going to have to keep 4 if they want one of these guys.

The starting offensive line didn’t play last game so expect the same. The second offensive line played a ton last game and it wouldn’t shock me if they play 3+ quarters this game.

Our starting defensive line hasn’t played all preseason and it won’t change now so expect a lot from guys like Sheldon Day, T.J. Smith, Ross Blacklock, and Calvin Avery. Jaquelin Roy, Minnesota’s 2023 5th round pick, is also looking to make his debut Saturday.

The top 4 outside linebackers in Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, and Pat Jones won’t see any action again. That only leaves Luiji Vilain, Andre Carter, and Benton Whitley.

Vilain was a undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest last year and made the team but didn’t play much. He has looked very good so far in preseason and has a tight hold on the 5th spot at OLB. Carter was thought of as the best UDFA in the class after the draft. He was given $300k guaranteed which is unheard of as someone who is undrafted. But he’s been injured and hasn’t looked very good so far. He’ll need a big game if he wants to crack the team.

Jordan Hicks will have a day off as well. Ivan Pace and Brian Asamoah might play a little but I’d be surprised if they play a lot. Troy Dye, Troy Reeder, Abraham Beauplan, Wilson Huber, and Tanner Vallejo will receive most of the snaps.

The team will likely rest Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, and Mekhi Blackmon. Blackmon was hurt last week, along with Evans. To be safe, I don’t think they play. Joejuan William, Andrew Booth, Jaylin Williams, Tay Gowan, Kalon Barnes will get the reps at CB. Camp standout and UDFA NaJee Thompson, who was injured last week on a punt from his tackle, is questionable after returning to practice today. He’s electric on ST. C.J. Coldon has barely played all preseason.

The top 3 Safeties in Harrison Smith, Cam Bynum, and Josh Metellus will all rest. Lewis Cine and Theo Jackson will see a lot of reps. Ward too. And Gervase will make his debut with the team as well.


Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals will likely play their started for a drive or two, but nothing past that. Just a lot of backups vs backups.


My Thoughts 

Overall, it’s going to be an interesting game to watch due to cuts being right around the corner and I’m excited to see what the young guys can bring to this team!