Storm's a comin'
Not often do teams play in stormy weather in preseason. There is major storm set to hit the area right around kick off. Like tornado warning major. High winds are expected and lightning in the area could very well cause delays. I will keep everyone updated on this situation as it develops.
It is probably no coincidence the Raiders are playing in Minnesota this preseason considering how many ties the current players and staff have with the Vikings. Here are a few
Chrisitan Ponder -- Selected 10th overall by the Vikings in 2011 and played the first four seasons of his career in Minnesota. He started 36 games for the Vikings during that time, inlcluding the entire 2012 season, going 10-6.
Bill Musgrave -- Ponder's offensive coordinator in Minnesota for his first three seasons was Musgrave. He moved on to become the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia last season and joined Jack Del Rio's staff (again) in Oakland as OC.
Mike Tice -- Tice both played and coached for the Vikings. The final three seasons of his playing career was spent in Minnesota. He would become a coach there in 1996, immediately following his playing career and spent 10 years on staff -- first as tight ends coach (1996), then offensive line coach (1997-2001), then head coach (2002-05).
Jack Del Rio -- Spent four seasons as a player with the Vikings (1992-95) -- his longest stint with any team. It was his final NFL team and he made his only Pro Bowl appearance as a Viking (1994).
There were five quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds of the 2014 draft. Two of those quarterbacks will face off tonight when Teddy Bridgewater (32 overall) and Derek Carr (36 overall) take the field. The others are Blake Bortles (3 overall), Johnny Manziel (22 overall), and Jimmy Garoppolo (62 overall).
Early returns have Carr and Bridgewater as the best quarterbacks in this class. While Carr is lauded for his potential, it was Bridgewater who received all the Rookie of the Year consideration. Year two looms large for both of these hopeful franchise quarterbacks. They should get a crack at each other's defense at least four drives tonight. At which point, Bridgewater will probably be far more worried about another draft classmate -- Khalil Mack.
Even with the strong finish to last season, all of those wins came at home. They lost all 9 of their games last season away from Oakland with their final three losses being outscored by 130-27. The Raiders haven't won away from Oakland since November 17, 2013 in Houston -- a string of 12-straight losses. They have lost 20 of their last 21 on the road and have won just two road games over the past three seasons under the new regime.
Winning a preseason game won't change that record, but performing well would be a sign of progress. Getting away from the friendly confines of O.co has proven to be a real problem for the Raiders.
D.J. Hayden vs Mike Wallace
There's a new top receiver in Minnesota. Mike Wallace joined the Vikings this offseason in a trade with the Dolphins. He will present the Raiders' young corners with a nice test as they prepare for the season. No other corner has come under more fire than Hayden who has routinely given up catches in practice to Michael Crabtree. And with Keith McGill likely not playing, it will be all Hayden and T.J. Carrie in the early going. Seeing how Hayden performs against Wallace will help off some indication of whether Hayden's struggles have been more his failings or simply how much of a tough cover Crabtree is in practice.
Who's on second?
We know who's on first at quarterback -- Derek Carr. What or who is on second will be the question. Matt McGloin had a fantastic game last week and has seen some second team snaps through camp, though Christian Ponder has seen most of them. Would the Raiders put Ponder in with the third team against the team which once drafted him at 10 overall? We'll soon see.
Looking for bounceback
A few players will be looking to bounce back from a lackluster performance in week one. Most notably will be Ray Ray Armstrong, Mario Edwards, and Trindon Holliday.
Armstrong had the coaches raving about him all offseason. He has been in getting a lot of reps in relief of the injured Sio Moore and started the first preseason game against his former team the Rams. In that game, he showed the same lack of discipline that got him in trouble with the Rams and carried over to the Raiders last season.
Mario Edwards was practically invisible in his Raiders debut. The 2015 second round pick has a lot to prove at this level, most notably if he can actually offer something in the way of pass rush. He is supposed to be at least a great run stopping defensive end and last week he didn't even show that.
There is no question Trindon Holliday can be an electric return man. But there's also no question he has had some serious problems in his career with holding onto the ball. He opened last week by muffing the first kickoff he received. He will have Taiwan Jones and newly signed Devon Wylie breathing down his neck ready to snatch that return job away from him if he can't manage to secure that ball better.
Streater's long awaited return?
It's been a long time since Rod Streater took the field for the Raiders. He went out in week three of last season with a broken foot and was lost for the season. Then he came down with a mysterious illness this offseason that had him on the Non-Football Illness list most of camp. He returned to the practice field and it's possible we could see him return to the playing field tonight in Minnesota.