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5 reasons to watch Vikings first preseason game


So we know that Adrian Peterson won't play and that the regular starters are not likely to play much, so why would someone want to watch the Vikings preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium on Friday night?

Here are five things to watch for during the game.

Teddy Bridgewater vs. Matt Cassel

There has been a lot of talk already in training camp about the Vikings quarterback situation. Matt Cassel opens up atop the depth chart, but Vikings coaches have said first round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater is going to get some time with the first team.

That could mean Vikings fans may get an extended look at their rookie quarterback.

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner has been raving about how Bridgewater has developed at training camp, so far.

Coaching debut for Mike Zimmer

Zimmer replaces Leslie Frazier as the head coach. Zimmer has been a long time assistant and according to WCCO, has a passion for football and is known as a fiery coach.

Like Frazier, Zimmer has come through the ranks on the defensive side of the ball. But his style is expected to be more aggressive defensively.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert writes that Zimmer's style remains under development. According to Seifert, Zimmer has spent about an hour a day with general manager Rick Spielman working through tape and thinking through scenarios.

"I think I have a decent idea of how I'm going to do things," Zimmer told Seifert. "I just never looked at it this way before because I always tried to do my job [as an assistant] as best I could. I never worried about it."

Vikings return to TCF Bank Stadium

When the Vikings kickoff Friday night it will be the second time the team plays a game at TCF Bank Stadium. The last time didn't go well for them when the Vikings were beaten handily by the Chicago Bears on a Monday night. It was the last NFL game that Brett Favre ever played in.

Things have changed at "The Bank" since then. The stadium now holds more than 52,000 and heating coils have been installed under the playing surface for home games that are played in the bitter cold of a Minnesota winter.

After playing the majority of their home games inside the Metrodome for the last 30 years, things will be a little different for home games, especially late in the season.

"It's going to be different when you think about it," Brian Robison told "Even the drive to the stadium, it's a different feel."

The Vikings plan to play all of their home games for the next two seasons at TCF, while they wait for their new stadium to be built on the site of their former home.

How will the Vikings linebackers look?

Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley and Anthony Barr sit atop the Vikings linebacker depth chart, but the position remains one of the biggest question marks of the season.

The veteran Greenway is coming off a disappointing 2013 but he has shown the ability to make plays in camp.

Barr was drafted by the Vikings with the 9th overall pick in the draft. The Vikings are hoping to use his athleticism to rush the passer from both the outside linebacker and defensive end positions.

"You are always worried about [overloading him], especially for a guy that has only played defense for two years," said Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. "But he comes in, he studies, he is preparing in the classroom, he can transfer it over to the field."

The biggest unknown might be at middle linebacker. Brinkley and Audie Cole have rotated throughout camp and will likely switch frequently during the first half.

Will Norv Turner improve the Vikings offense?

Peterson has been outspoken this offseason that the Vikings offense will be less predictable this season than in the last few years.

Feedback on Turner's new offense highlights a lot of pre-snap movement and formation changes.

One thing that Peterson has hinted at, is that he will be more involved in the passing game this season than he ever has been.

For more story lines on Friday night's preseason opener has a video rundown of a few more things to watch for.

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