MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings host the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night in their second preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium, and it’s not fully known which starters will get their first snaps in a live-game situation.
The Vikings sat 31 players in last Saturday’s 33-6 loss to the Denver Broncos, letting the big names sit rather than risk getting injured in an exhibition. That will change for some this Saturday. Defensive tackle Michael Pierce said Tuesday he’s been told he’s playing. It will be his first game in a Vikings’ uniform, and first NFL game since the end of the 2019 season. Pierce opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Will Kirk Cousins play? The short answer is we don’t know, he doesn’t even know yet.
"Haven’t discussed it. It’s usually something we’re told day before at the earliest, maybe day of. I’ve learned through my years to just plan on playing a good amount, do your homework and be ready to go," Cousins said before Wednesday’s practice. "Those decisions are really beyond me, my job is just to be ready to play."
Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak said before Wednesday’s practice that he’d love for Cousins to get some live, in-game reps, but it’s a decision that’s ultimately up to Mike Zimmer.
"I’m just taking Coach Zimmer’s lead. Whether Kirk plays or doesn’t play, ultimately we’ve got to get him ready for Cincinnati Week 1, that’s our ultimate goal," Kubiak said.
The second preseason game would be Cousins' only chance to get reps before Week 1 at Cincinnati. The third preseason game at Kansas City will most likely be played by reserve players fighting for spots on the final 53-man roster.
Last Saturday also marked Kubiak’s game debut as offensive coordinator. He wore the headset for the first time, and called the plays from the field. Last year Gary Kubiak, his father, called plays from the upper level booth. Klint said he plans to stay on the sideline.
After not scoring an offensive touchdown, there’s work to do.
"It was fun, it was exciting. But I learned that we’ve got to score a lot more points," Kubiak said.
WILL EVERSON GRIFFEN RETURN TO THE VIKINGS?
One of the stories heading into Wednesday’s practice was if Everson Griffen might return to the Vikings for the 2021 season. The defensive end and fan favorite spent his first 10 seasons in Minnesota before splitting the 2020 season between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.
He played in 14 games, with two starts for the Lions and finished the season with a combined 33 tackles and six sacks. That number would’ve led the Vikings’ defense last season. Griffen would add depth to the Vikings' defensive line, with the competition for the defensive end spot opposite Danielle Hunter currently between D.J. Wonnum and Stephen Weatherly.
Griffen reportedly worked out for the Vikings Wednesday morning and was meeting with team officials before practice. The team has not announced anything official.