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Minnesota Vikings 2014 Training Camp Preview

By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) -

REPORT DATE: July 24

SITE: Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Vikings will finally sport a 21st-century defense now that Mike Zimmer has taken over the head-coaching duties from Tampa-2 acolyte Leslie Frazier. The real issue in Minneapolis, however, remains the game's most important position.

The franchise was set back years by 2011 draft bust Christian Ponder. For now, veteran Matt Cassel is the placeholder for rookie first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater, an intriguing prospect who struggled in the pre-draft process but has drawn rave reviews from Minny offensive coordinator Norv Turner during offseason work.

On defense Minnesota re-built the front four (re-signing promising pass rusher Everson Griffen and inking ascending nose tackle Linval Joseph, along with underrated swingman Corey Wootton), and addressed cornerback as well (snaring slot star Captain Munnerlyn and the lengthy Derek Cox) in free agency.

KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Minnesota obviously needs the answer at QB and getting a player like Bridgewater, who was once considered a top-five-level prospect, with the 32nd overall pick is a prudent gamble. The Louisville product is the most polished and NFL-ready signal caller from this year's draft class.

"There is no pressure on this kid to come in and play," general manger Rick Spielman said. "We're very comfortable with Matt Cassel right now. He'll come in and compete and then the coaches will determine if he's even ready to play this year."

KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Munnerlyn is exactly what the Vikings needed. Minnesota mistakenly moved on from veteran Antoine Winfield before the 2013 season and the results were nothing short of disastrous.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Winfield was a rock at the Vikings' all- important left cornerback position and an even more critical lynchpin to the club's defensive scheme when he moved inside to play the slot on obvious passing downs.

Josh Robinson, a raw player with elite speed but little feel for coverage, was lost in Minnesota's antiquated cover-2 defensive philosophy as Winfield's replacement, and he and fellow corner Chris Cook, a lengthy player with no discernable ball skills who is now in San Francisco. were arguably the worst starting duo in the entire NFL last year.

In fact Xavier Rhodes, a first-round pick in 2013 out of Florida State, was the only bright spot at corner for the Vikings last season. Rhodes is penciled in as one starter opposite Munnerlyn, an undersized but scrappy option expected to take over the Winfield role as the corner who holds his own outside the numbers before moving inside in the nickel where "The Captain" was a difference maker with the Carolina Panthers.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):

Aug 8 - vs. Oakland, 8:00 PM Aug 16 - vs. Arizona, 8:30 PM Aug 23 - at Kansas City, 8:00 PM Aug 28 - at Tennessee, 8:00 PM

07/17 12:36:56 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
 
4th
WASH 7
ARST 10
 
Half
HAW 10
NEV 6
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14