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Position Battles

Pre-season is a time for coaches to get a look at younger players but it will also give the Vikings staff a good look at some players battling for starting or back up spots. Adam wrote an article about 5 things to watch for and I’m going to expand off of that and give you guys some position battles to keep an eye on.

Back Up QB

Joe Webb, Christian Ponder

McNabb has a history of injuries and if he were to go down who would the Vikings call on? There’s a lot to look at for the QB position. Webb has the upper hand because of in game experience but Vikings drafted Ponder for the QB of the future. We all know Webb can run with the best of them but I want to see him stand in the pocket and move the ball down field. They need to show accuracy, poise, and use of multiple reads. I want to see they can make all the NFL throws. Slants, deep outs, fade, hitch and so on.

Wide Receiver

Jaymar Johnson, Greg Camarillo, Devin Aromashodu, Manny Arceneaux

Frazier stated they will probably keep 5 WR’s on the roster. Berrian, Harvin, and Jenkins are locks to make the team but other 2 spots are wide open. Right now I would put the last 2 spots between 4 players. Jaymar Johnson who I believe will take one of the spots, Greg Camarillo, Devin Aromashodu, and Manny Arceneaux. I think Arceneaux is the long shot to make the team and it will come down to Aromashodu and Camarillo but you never know. Will be interesting to watch over the preseason.

Starting RG

Chris DeGeare, Ryan Cook, Anthony Herrera

Chris DeGeare seems to have the upper hand right now but when Anthony Herrera returns it could be different. DeGreare started playing well last year towards the end of the year but has struggled a bit in training camp. We probably won’t see Herrera until the 3rd game of the preseason at the earliest so Cook should get plenty of reps behind DeGeare and possibly prove himself worthy of a starting role.

Starting Weakside LB

Erin Henderson, Kenny Onatolu, Jasper Brinkley, Ross Homan

Erin Henderson is penciled in as the starter but Jasper Brinkley, Kenny Onatolu, and even Ross Homan will get a look during the pre-season. Brinkley showed some promise when he replaced an injured E.J. Henderson in 2009 and Frazier has mentioned he wants to get Onatolu on the field more. Ross Homan is undersized but he’s played decently well so far in training camp. I don’t know if anyone will be able to steal away the starting spot from Erin but we do have an abundance of solid LB’s.

Nickel CB

Chris Cook, Asher Allen

Chris Cook and Asher Allen will be competing for the nickel CB spot. As it stands now I would put Cook with the slight edge. Cook was off to a good training camp in 2010 until some knee injuries slowed him. Asher Allen had a rough year last year starting so will need to show improvement if he wants to keep his job.

Starting Safety

Tyrell Johnson, Jamarcus Sanford, Mistral Raymond

Husain Abdullah has one of the starting spots on lock and the other position is wide open right now. In my opinion this will be the best compititon to keep an eye on. Tyrell Johnson has delt with a hamstring issue in training camp allowing for Sanford and Raymond to get some valuable reps. The way Madieu Williams has played, I don’t see how any 3 of them wouldn’t be an upgrade.

Punt and Kick Returner

KR – Lorenzo Booker, Chord Parks
PR – Jaymar Johnson, Marcus Sherels

Vikings have Percy Harvin to use when they want but Booker also did a nice job as kick returner last year and my guess is he’ll take over those duties again. Now punt returner is a different story. Berrian and Camarillo returned punts last year but neither one was very effective. Jaymar Johnson will have every chance to take the job and my guess is he will.

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