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Titans vs. Vikings: 5 Things to Watch

Posted Aug 28, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The monsoon at LP field seems like a distant memory, but after two weeks on the road, the Titans (2-1) return home tonight to host the Minnesota Vikings (3-0) in the preseason finale at LP Field (7 p.m., CT kickoff).

Minnesota hasn’t lost an exhibition contest yet, outscoring opponents 70-46 through three games.

Like the Titans, the Vikings enter the 2014 season with a new head coach. Mike Zimmer took over during the offseason after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008-13. Minnesota has also added offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who performed the same role in Cleveland last season after serving as head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 2007-12. 

The story of the Vikings’ preseason has centered on the quarterback battle between nine-year vet Matt Cassel and rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Although both QB’s have been wildly successful in the preseason, Zimmer announced this week that Cassel will be the team’s signal caller in week one.

Cassell has completed 26-of-39 passes for 367 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating for 103.3 in three preseason games. The QB also made six starts for the Vikings in 2013, recording a 3-3 record.

All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson has yet to get a preseason carry as Vikings coaches save him for the regular season. Second year, do-it-all receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and big tight end Kyle Rudolph highlight the rest of the Vikings offense. 

5 Things to Watch

1. More Mettenberger

Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t named a starter tonight, but it’s very likely to be Mettenberger. The rookie QB leads the league in preseason passing yards with 504 to go with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 97.2 passer rating. His completion percentage is an impressive 68.6 percent, as he’s connected on 35 out of his 51 attempts.

Mettenberger has arguably been Tennessee’s biggest story throughout the preseason with two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter already under his belt. He should be lined up for plenty of snaps again tonight, along with Dominique Davis, who was signed this week to help carry the QB load in tonight’s preseason finale.

2. Teddy Ballgame

As mentioned above, Mettenberger isn’t the only rookie quarterback playing tonight. Teddy Bridgewater has been impressive thus far in preseason, despite not earning the Vikings starting gig

Bridgewater is tied for second in the league with four preseason touchdown passes. He has yet to throw an interception and is completing 65 percent of his passes. The Vikings used their first-round pick (32 overall) on Bridgewater in this year’s draft.

He, too, should see plenty of action tonight at LP Field.

3. Tim Shaw

Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw will serve as the first “12th Titan” of the 2014 season. Just last week, Shaw announced he had been diagnosed with ALS and challenged the entire Titans organization to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Not only will Shaw make his triumphant return through the Titans tunnel, but he will get doused with the ice cold water for a second time to challenge all the fans in attendance. The Titans will also have a special check presentation with donations made from members of the organization.

4. Bonani vs. Coons

Both kickers – Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons -- are still around without a clear leader in the clubhouse.

Bonani made both of his field goals last week against Atlanta (44 yards and 51 yards) and Coons split his two attempts (making from 39 and missing from 63).

5. Competitions Conclude

Continuing on no. 4, Thursday night is the final chance for everybody to add to their preseason resume – one final opportunity to put down quality game tape.

The upcoming weekend is the wildest of the year in terms of roster movement. Each team will cut at least 22 players, possibly sign guys from other teams, and then build a 10-player practice squad. It’s a lot of moving parts and its pretty remarkable how fast it all happens. 

Brace yourself, it will be a busy weekend of Titans news as Week 1 of the NFL season is just around the corner.

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