VikingBuzz BLOG: 8/25

The VikingBuzz BLOG is your daily source for all the latest news, information, commentary and analysis on the Minnesota Vikings.

McCauley continues to shine

All eyes have logically been on rookie running back Adrian Peterson throughout training camp so far.  But another rookie, cornerback Marcus McCauley, has also proven from the get-go that he’s ready to contribute right away.

McCauley has acclimated himself nicely thus far, virtually locking down the nickel job with the first team.  The Vikings actually move McCauley outside on nickel packages, with veteran Antoine Winfield moving inside over the slot receiver.

McCauley looked very sharp in the preseason opener, more than holding his own against Rams wideouts Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.  He was less obvious against the Jets last week, but that was primarily because they avoided throwing the ball in his direction.

Without question, McCauley has been the biggest steal of the Vikings 2007 draft class to this point.

Opportunity for DEs to shine?

Two young defensive ends for the Vikings – second-year man Ray Edwards and rookie Brian Robison – have been giving offensive tackles fits throughout training camp and the preseason.  Whether it’s been practice against their own tackles, the scrimmages against the Chiefs, or the Rams and Jets the past two weeks, both players have given all takers a run for their money so far.  Will that trend continue against the Seahawks?

Perennial All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones is not expected to play because of a shoulder injury, so the level of competition inevitably drops off a bit.

Ray Willis is expected to start at right tackle against the Vikings.  Willis is a third-year pro who has played in only seven games in the NFL and has never started, so it could be an opportunity for starting left end Kenechi Udeze to get the no sack monkey off his back.

Sean Locklear, who normally starts at right tackle, is expected to switch to the left side for this game.  Locklear is a fourth-year veteran with two seasons as a starter under his belt, but always on the other side.  Can Edwards, Robison and Erasmus James take advantage of his inexperience with the left-handed stance?

Katnik making push for backup center job

Perhaps the least publicized player who’s pushing to make the opening-day roster is backup center Norm Katnik.

The Vikings pursued two strong undrafted free agent prospects in West Virginia’s Dan Mozes and Michigan State pivot man Kyle Cook following the draft.

Unfortunately for Mozes, the former Rimington Award winner in college, he blew out his knee in training camp and is lost for the season.  Cook has shown some potential, but it appears that Katnik has been more consistent and still appears to be the front-runner to make the opening-day 53-man roster.

Simon appears headed to Tennessee?

There was speculation earlier this week that former Colts DT Corey Simon might be a fit for the Vikings, who are looking for better depth inside, but it sounds like the Tennessee Titans are pursuing Simon, according to this article.

Other stories:

>Two-back plans remain a secret
>James motivated to rush back out
>Peterson “a willing learner, a willing worker”
>Viking fans shouldn’t worry about Jackson
>Edwards could be on verge of breaking out for Vikes
>Lowber touts his ability and potential
>Hutchinson still missed in Seattle
>Best offensive linemen per team
>Preseason preview – Vikings at Seahawks
>Vikings-Seahawks preview
>Familiar faces
>Menefee blog:  Who’s No. 2 in the North?
>Henderson’s brother not so little anymore
>Updated depth chart
>Eddie Mac dropping the ball as landlord?
>McCombs launches Christian web site
>Vick plea bargain (.pdf)

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