Who says preseason football doesn't matter? For all 32 NFL teams, the next four weeks presents many opportunities to narrow down a 90-man roster to the best 53 players. Here are five things to look for in the preseason opener as the Raiders head to Minnesota.
5. TIGHT END TEST
With projected starting tight end David Ausberry scheduled to have knee surgery, Mychal Rivera moves into a starting role. Will Nick Kasa or Brian Leonhardt step up to create depth at the position?
4. THE TRENCHES
This will be the first look at the Raiders starting offensive line with the average lineman standing at 6'5 and weighing 322 pounds as the unit squares up against a beefy run defense that includes Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph at defensive tackle.
Experienced is an understatement for this front four. Defensive ends Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley have the potential to bring a deadly pass rush while defensive tackles Pat Sims and Antonio Smith can penetrate the interior of the o-line.
3. CARR VS BRIDGEWATER
Since being drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft just three months ago, rookie Derek Carr has been impressive, listed as the No. 2 QB on the Raiders unofficial depth chart. This will be his first chance to get quality reps against a team not wearing silver and black.
The Vikings own rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been splitting first-team reps in training camp with Matt Cassel. Another storyline? Jason Tarver's defense vs former Raiders head coach Norv Turner's offense.
As one GM who evaluated all rookie QBs said, Teddy Bridgewater did more at the line in college than anyone else picked early. Helps him now — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 6, 2014
2. RETURN OF THE MACK
Khalil Mack travels back east to play in the first NFL game of his career. This game may not effect the regular season record but there is no doubt all eyes will be on the Raiders fifth-overall pick. How many snaps will he play? How many tackles will he record? Will Mack sack a Vikings quarterback? These questions will be answered tonight.
1. THE VOICE OF THE RAIDERS
Hearing Greg Papa say "Touchdown, Raiders!" is what everyone in Raider Nation will be looking forward to.