The preseason is nearing the end.  By Friday night all teams will be done, and Saturday the cuts down to 53 have to be made.  With that said, let’s look at the 5 important issues going into the final preseason game.

5. Staying Healthy.  This is always important, but it is arguably less important here for the final preseason game as most of the starters will warm the bench.  It is still very important for backups who are going to be a big part of the team to stay healthy.  Particularly on the O and D lines.

4. Special Teams.  Look for big plays to be made, they may not occur, but some players may be able to make the team with great special team efforts.  Some guys who are on the bubble at certain positions can make our break their careers this way.   Even if a player makes a great play but isn’t kept by the Vikings, another team may see that player and make a move for them off of the Vikes practice squad to fill depth on their team.

3. RB Situation.  Knowing that Peterson, Gerhart, and Booker will all sit out, this is a big chance for what presumably is only going to be one practice squad spot for Tristan Davis, Alexander Robinson, and Caleb King to fight for.  I really think that all 3 of these guys are good backs, and I would like to see them in the future, but I think it’s entirely possible that none of them are Vikings next year or possibly this year.

2. LB Situation.  Erin has played fine, but with injuries behind him the team is looking for a backup.  Everson Griffen, usually a defensive end, is going to be playing there this week.  He’s a player with freakish athleticism for his size and build.  He, like so many others, should be effective as an OLB and will help raise his value on this roster.  Also watch for Larry Dean, an aggressive player who is undersized, something Vikings fans should be excited about.  AP was too big too play running back (when we drafted him), now he’s the best in the league.  Larry Dean, could be the exact same story but in reverse.  His effort and intelligence might just win him a spot in the Purple and Gold.

1. QB Battle.  I feel reluctant to call this a battle.  I don’t think that’s what this is.  Ponder will be the backup, maybe not if McNabb gets hurt in week 1, but otherwise Ponder will be the backup.  Ponder just needs to have a solid game, with limited mental errors to lock it up.  This isn’t a burn on Webb.  Webb will be a bigger part of the offense this year (assuming nothing happens to McNabb, which does include a Favre like implosion).  What Webb needs to do here in P-week 4 is do what he does.  Sure, some would like to see him throw the ball more (me included), but what Webb needs to do is be explosive.  Musgrave and Frazier have said they want to use Webb in many different ways, so he wants to continue to show the coaches that he’s capable of being effective no matter what it is he’s doing.