Vikings' starters look for confidence in dress rehearsal

5:03 PM, Aug 25, 2013   |    comments
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) and defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Preseason success in the NFL can make a fan base feel pretty good going into the season, but ultimately wins and losses don't mean much.

That said, coaches and fans are hoping to see something from the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night when they take on the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco.

"(It) was our first time doing a Friday in-season type practice and the guys handled it well," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "Hopefully, we will go out and play well based off of the way we prepared. I really feel good about the way guys have worked throughout the week. They have had good attitudes and the work ethic has been very, very good."

"I don't see why we wouldn't have high expectations," said Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. "We worked extremely hard this offseason to put ourselves in a situation. This is kind of like our first dress rehearsal for a game. (We're) kind of treating this like a real game. We have high expectations for this week and then on into the season."

The Vikings first-team offense has struggled in its first two preseason games, but that was in limited action against Houston and against a scheming Buffalo defense in game two.

"It is important for our entire team to go out and have some success as we are preparing for the regular season," Frazier said. "There are certain benchmarks as a staff that we would like to see our guys achieve. Coming off that field on Sunday night you want to come off with some confidence about where you are at in certain areas. So there are some benchmarks that we have in place for everybody."

On Sunday, the Vikings will look to establish themselves as a team that has an improved passing attack to go with running back Adrian Peterson, who will be playing for the first time this preseason.

"We've got some things in place for (Peterson) and we will see how it goes as the game goes on, but he has had a great training camp for us, and he has worked very hard while preparing himself," Frazier said.

But everyone knows what Peterson can do. The key to Sunday's game and the entire season will be growth from Christian Ponder, who should get plenty of time on Sunday to try and build some chemistry with rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and veteran newcomer Greg Jennings.

"It feels good to get out there and be comfortable with hearing the calls, looking at the defense, seeing what they are doing and then reacting and playing football," Jennings said. "It definitely prepares you. I think you are behind the 8-ball if you don't get preseason work."

Watch the Vikings take on the 49ers live on KARE 11 starting at 7 p.m. A pregame show, live from the KARE 11 Barn at the Minnesota State Fair, will air at 6:30 p.m.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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