Preseason schedule brings interesting plot

The Vikings' order of preseason opponents was announced on Monday and it brings an interesting twist. The third preseason game could feature Sage Rosenfels battling for a starting job against his former team.

The Vikings preseason schedule was released Monday and the proposed QB competition proclaimed by head coach Brad Childress could be determined in an interesting setting.

The schedule of four preseason games has the Vikings opening the preseason on either Aug. 14 or 15 at Indianapolis. That will be followed with the preseason home opener against the Chiefs on Aug. 21 or 22. The third game will be at Houston on Monday, Aug. 31, and the final game will be played at home vs. Dallas Sept. 3 or 4.

What makes the Houston game intriguing is that the third preseason game is when teams tend to play their starters the longest. Under typical circumstances, the starters see only one or two series in the first game and play a little more than one quarter in the second game. In the final game, they revert back to the rituals for the preseason opener – one or two series for the starters and that's it. However, the third game is when you tend to see the starters get the most work prior to the opening of the regular season – usually playing the entire first half and a series or two in the third quarter.

The fact that the Vikings are slated in for a Monday night game at Houston begs the question: "Will Sage Rosenfels get the chance to play against his former team?" All indications would point to an affirmative answer, which, simply translated, would lend one to believe that if Rosenfels excels against his old team, he likely will win the starting job heading into the regular season.

It seems interesting that the Vikings would face the Texans in the third preseason game. The teams have never met in the preseason and, given the Rosenfels situation and the prime time Monday night time slot, it would appear as though the game is setting up to be a nationally televised coming out party for Rosenfels to be the next Vikings QB. The game will be carried on ESPN as part of its preseason NFL package.

Coincidence? You decide.


  • The ESPN Monday night game between the Vikings and Texans seems a bit incongruous with its other two matchups, which have strong coaching tie-ins as part of their allure. In Week 1, former Giants defensive coordinator and Carolina head coach John Fox returns to the Meadowlands to meet the Giants. In Week 2, Rex Ryan, the new Jets head coach, returns to his old stomping grounds in Baltimore to play the Ravens.

  • For the fourth straight year, the Vikings will close out the preseason with a game against the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Talks between the Vikings continue with Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield and there is growing speculation that the team may also be close to re-signing Chester Taylor, who is also entering the final year of his contract.

  • Defensive end Kenechi Udeze, who has been sidelined for more than a year since being diagnosed with leukemia, won't be part of the Vikings offseason training program when it opens Monday. It isn't because of his medical condition, but because he is finishing his degree at USC. Childress told the Star Tribunes he expects Udeze to be at the team's May minicamp.

  • The standoff between the Broncos and QB Jay Cutler doesn't seem to be showing any sign of improvement. Cutler was scheduled to take part in the team's offseason workout program, but is a no-show. He had a $100,000 bonus in his contract to participate, but that has been forfeited. That wouldn't mean much if he had a mega-buck contract, but his base salary is just $1.035 million – meaning his not showing up represents a forfeiture of nearly 10 percent of his 2009 money.

  • The gambling website is taking action on whether Cutler will return to Denver. The Broncos remain a 5:9 favorite, but the Jets (7:2), Lions (4:1) and Buccaneers (6:1) remain in the running for degenerate gamblers who feel compelled to put money down on such things.

  • Being a champion has its perks, but one of them may not be free spending. The Steelers are the only team in the NFL not to sign a free agent from another team.

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