NFL Preseason Preview - Minnesota (1-2) at Houston (2-1)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The Houston Texans are confident that their core group of
players are good enough to make a serious run at a second straight playoff
appearance. The defending AFC South champions will now get to see how strong
their depth is when they wrap up their 2012 preseason slate against the
Minnesota Vikings at Reliant Stadium.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has stated that his team's starting units won't
be taking the field for Thursday's tussle, with the primary goal at the moment
to get rested and healthy for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Miami.
The lengthy inactive list will include Houston's top two quarterbacks, Matt
Schaub and T.J. Yates, with offseason addition John Beck set to run the
offense for the entire first half and undrafted rookie Case Keenum getting the
call for the final two quarters.
The two reserves are battling one another to stick as the No. 3 quarterback,
assuming the Texans opt to keep that many on the 53-man roster.
Schaub probably doesn't need the additional game reps anyway, as the steady
veteran has put together an excellent preseason. Through Houston's first three
outings, he's completed a crisp 76.3 percent (29-of-38) of his passes for 374
yards and three touchdowns with one interception, good for a 113.3 quarterback
He was on clearly on target in Saturday's 34-27 loss at New Orleans,
connecting on 15-of-18 attempts for 194 yards along with a scoring strike to
rookie receiver Keshawn Martin in only one half of work.
Tight end Garrett Graham also had a big night for Houston, recording 97
receiving yards on four catches to lead all players.
The Vikings will also be holding out their No. 1 signal-caller for Thursday's
contest, with second-year pro Christian Ponder getting a chance to watch the
game from the sidelines, and head coach Leslie Frazier indicated that nearly
all of his regulars would not play as well.
Frazier had given thought to allowing star running back Adrian Peterson to
participate in the finale to get some live carries before Minnesota's Week 1
test against Jacksonville, but opted against it. Peterson has not played at
all this preseason while recovering from ACL and MCL tears in his left knee
sustained in a late-season game back in December, but is on track to be ready
for the Sept. 9 lid-lifter.
Joe Webb will get the starting nod in Ponder's place, to be followed by
onetime Texan Sage Rosenfels and former UFL player McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
In Ponder's final prep for the season opener, the 2011 first-round selection
went 9-of-16 for 115 yards in about 2 1/2 quarters of action during
Minnesota's 12-10 loss at San Diego this past Friday. He was also sacked five
times and threw an interception.
The Vikings took advantage of a depleted Houston roster to register a 28-0
victory in last year's final preseason game for both squads. Minnesota also
claimed the only other previous exhibition clash between the clubs, a 17-10
decision at Reliant Stadium in 2009.
Minnesota and Houston will also square off during this year's regular season,
which will take place in Minneapolis on Dec. 23.
08/29 08:45:37 ET
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