Wednesday NFL preview: What's next for Vikings?

Bridgewater injury a big blow to Vikings (1:28)

ESPN Vikings reporter Ben Goessling describes the scene at Minnesota's practice when Teddy Bridgewater went down with an injury that was later revealed to be a torn ACL and dislocated knee. (1:28)

NFL Nation reporters assess the top storylines to watch for every team on Wednesday.

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West


Dallas Cowboys

Undrafted rookie tight end Austin Traylor can come close to sewing up a spot on the Cowboys' 53-man roster with a solid performance Thursday vs. Houston. With James Hanna out the first six weeks of the season because of a knee injury, and Gavin Escobar not a lock to make the team, Traylor could factor in behind Jason Witten and Geoff Swaim. Traylor was limited to eight games his senior year at Wisconsin by an arm injury, but he has proven to be an adept blocker and improved pass catcher. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Coach Ben McAdoo wouldn't say whether his starters would play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots, but there might not be a universal answer. It will all be dealt with on a "case-by-case" basis, McAdoo said. Rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard expects to play some, but the real question is with Victor Cruz. Do the Giants need to see more from him? McAdoo thought he took a "good step" over the weekend during his first game in almost two years. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

The results of offensive tackle Lane Johnson's "B sample" have yet to be revealed, meaning the Eagles still don't know for sure if he'll be handed a 10-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy before the start of the season. Even if he is suspended, Johnson could always appeal, which could push the timeline back even further. Doug Pederson indicated that he would start Johnson Week 1 if the right tackle is available. "If he's ready to go, then he's our guy," Pederson said. -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

The Redskins' final preseason game, moved up to Wednesday night, will be the Nate Sudfeld show at quarterback. Sudfeld will start and is expected to play all four quarters as the Redskins want to get him plenty of work. They're expected to keep him as the No. 3 quarterback behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Sudfeld might not be ready to play right now, but there are definitely some in the organization who say he can develop into a starter in a year or two. With uncertainty over Cousins' situation in Washington, the Redskins want to make sure they have a young passer worth trying to groom. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Coach John Fox refused to reveal who he intended to play in Thursday's exhibition finale, but he stressed that Browns coach Hue Jackson's decision to play Cleveland's starters will have no impact on the Bears. "I think we kind of know what we're going to do," Fox said. "We pretty much keep that to ourselves until we get out there. What they do won't impact what we do." Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long will not play Thursday, but the Bears are hopeful Long can practice next week in advance of the season opener against Houston. "I think it's fair to say he won't play this week against Cleveland -- but we're anticipating him at least being back out there to get ready for Houston," Fox said. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Lions coach Jim Caldwell wouldn't rule out any players of Thursday's preseason finale against Buffalo, including quarterback Matthew Stafford. When asked why he would play Stafford in the final exhibition, he said, "You could think of a few. We may have some. If we have some, we'll certainly put it in place." This still seems unlikely, especially since Caldwell said earlier in the week that rookie Jake Rudock would see more snaps than he has in the past. He and Dan Orlovsky are competing for the No. 2 quarterback role behind Stafford. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

What was supposed to be an ordinary walkthrough practice for the Packers before heading to Kansas City for Thursday's preseason finale will be new punter Jacob Schum's first day with the team. He was claimed off waivers Tuesday after the Buccaneers let him go, replacing veteran Tim Masthay, who had kicked for the Packers since 2010. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings' season was turned upside down Tuesday when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater sustained a torn ACL and dislocated knee during practice, and they'll probably spend their next few days trying to figure out what to do at quarterback. Shaun Hill figures to be the starter in the immediate future, but the Vikings probably will need another quarterback, with Joel Stave -- who didn't figure to make the team -- now the only other healthy quarterback on the roster. "I have confidence in Shaun," coach Mike Zimmer said. "I think he has played great this preseason. He has been in two-minute drills. He has done a phenomenal job, and the thing we all have to remember is, this is about the team. This isn't about a one-man deal." -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are going to give rookie wide receiver Devin Fuller a redshirt year with the decision to put him on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury. Fuller was battling for a spot in the rotation and could have been the kick returner. His departure means undrafted J.D. McKissic, who has averaged 50.5 yards per kickoff return this preseason including a 101-yard TD, has a better shot to make the 53-man roster. Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Justin Hardy, and Aldrick Robinson are the first four receivers followed by Eric Weems, Nick Williams, and McKissic. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Coach Ron Rivera says he expects Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short to be back Wednesday for the final walkthrough for Thursday's preseason finale against Pittsburgh. But don't look for Short or most of the key starters to play against the Steelers. Short has missed the past three days of practice because of an undisclosed soreness. The same for backup quarterback Derek Anderson. Rivera said third-string Joe Webb probably will play the entire game against Pittsburgh with Anderson the emergency quarterback. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Does the fourth preseason game matter? Apparently it does when you're 0-3 this summer and coming off back-to-back 7-9 seasons. Saints coach Sean Payton says the plan is for starters to play in the first quarter Thursday against the Ravens, including quarterback Drew Brees, who hasn't played in a preseason finale since 2006. It's unclear just how much Brees will play -- but it is clear that the Saints are eager to develop a little momentum heading into the season. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs will rest most of their starters in Wednesday's preseason finale against the Redskins, with several final roster spots still up for grabs. "We've got competition at multiple positions -- wide receiver, tight end, running back, offensive line, corner[back], safety, defensive line and linebacker," coach Dirk Koetter said. The team also will need to decide its kick returner situation since Donteea Dye, the front-runner in that department, was waived/injured Monday after suffering a hamstring injury. Kenny Bell, Bernard Reedy and Ryan Smith are three to watch there. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

The good news for the Cardinals is that both wide receiver John Brown and safety Tyrann Mathieu were cleared to play in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Broncos. But coach Bruce Arians said he would "wait and see" if either ends up playing. Brown has been dealing with headaches since he suffered a concussion on July 31. Mathieu returned to the field last Sunday, eight months after ACL surgery. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he's "50/50" on whether quarterback Jared Goff would start the final preseason game, in Minnesota on Thursday. Goff starting would of course mean that Case Keenum, who is expected to open the regular season as the starter, would not play. "If that's the case, it'd be great," Goff said. "It'd be something I'm more accustomed to doing -- kind of getting out there, going right away." -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Coach Chip Kelly said quarterback Colin Kaepernick would play in the preseason finale against the Chargers and Blaine Gabbert would not. Kelly pointed to the number of game repetitions -- 13 for Kaepernick and 43 for Gabbert -- as the reason. Kelly indicated Kaepernick would get a longer look though the exact number of snaps would be determined later. Thursday's game should bring some answers on the quarterback competition as Kelly says he would like to make a decision after the game and potentially an announcement as soon as Friday. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks make a move to add a backup quarterback in the next few days as teams trim their rosters to 53 players. If the regular season started today, they'd go with undrafted free agent Trevone Boykin, who has had an up-and-down preseason. "He's growing," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "I think as any young quarterback, there's a lot on his plate with what we ask him to do." Russell Wilson has never missed a game or practice in his four-year career, but the Seahawks need to have a plan in place in case Wilson suffers an injury in 2016. -- Sheil Kapadia


Buffalo Bills

The Bills waived first-year quarterback Austin Trainor as part of their moves to cut down to 75 players Tuesday, which is a signal that rookie quarterback Cardale Jones (shoulder) is ready to play in Thursday's preseason finale. The team is likely to start EJ Manuel in the game and then replace him with Jones, who sat out last Friday's preseason loss to Washington because of soreness in his throwing shoulder. Trainor signed Sunday as insurance in case Jones couldn't play Thursday in Detroit. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Dolphins rookie guard Laremy Tunsil caught his foot in the turf earlier this week in practice, but the first-round pick says he is good to go for Thursday's preseason finale against the Titans. Tunsil could use the extra reps. He has a big assignment in his first regular-season game, on the road against the Seahawks. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

The Patriots officially put starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, which means they are out for at least the first six weeks of the season. In Vollmer's case, the feeling is that he is unlikely to play this year because of a nagging hip injury that will thrust six-year veteran Marcus Cannon into the top spot on the right-tackle depth chart. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Todd Bowles has decided to rest backup quarterback Geno Smith in the final preseason game, announcing that Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg will share the game. Presumably, it means Smith has secured the No. 2 spot. Petty could be playing for a roster spot; he'll need a strong game to convince team brass to keep four quarterbacks on the opening-day roster. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman says he has done everything physically to be cleared to play in Thursday's preseason finale in New Orleans. "I'm ready to go," Perriman said after Tuesday's practice. This would be Perriman's much-anticipated NFL debut. He hasn't played in a preseason or regular-season game since being the No. 26 overall player drafted 16 months ago. Perriman said the final decision is up to the coaching staff, and he has no idea whether he will play. Coach John Harbaugh said Perriman would play if he is medically cleared to do so. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Rookie wide receiver Alex Erickson will get another chance to show why the team chose him over veteran Brandon Tate as its kick returner when the Bengals host the Colts on Thursday. Special teams captain Cedric Peerman will undergo surgery soon for his broken forearm, but he could be a candidate to return later in the season. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Very few teams play their starters in the preseason finale. The Browns will. Why? Because they need to play. In preseason, the offense has scored 37 points and averaged 223 yards per game, and the defense has given 71 points and 393 yards per game. The defensive numbers are an NFL low. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

With Ladarius Green starting the season on the PUP list, the Steelers' top two healthy tight ends Jesse James and David Johnson have a combined 32 career catches. But James is eager to ease concerns coming off last week's four-catch, one-touchdown performance against the Saints. The Steelers were high on his potential after his rookie year, and he has done nothing to lose that momentum in the preseason. "I feel really good," he said. "I feel confident when I get in there." -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Coach Bill O'Brien said Tuesday that he has seen a lot of improvement from backup quarterback Tom Savage. Savage missed all of last season after injuring his shoulder, but he has beaten out Brandon Weeden for the backup spot behind Brock Osweiler during camp. O'Brien said he wanted to see "steady improvement" from Savage in Thursday's preseason finale, especially on "taking care of the football, managing the game properly," communicating well and converting on third downs. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

The good thing about the Colts signing cornerback Antonio Cromartie more than two weeks before the regular season starts is that it allows him to get into better shape after having to wait all offseason before a team signed him. "He's getting better," coach Chuck Pagano said. "He hasn't played football. He's in good shape, but there's a difference between LA Fitness shape and training camp shape, right? He's getting better. I'm glad we have a little bit more time." Cromartie probably will start with Patrick Robinson in Week 1 against Detroit because Vontae Davis is still out because of an ankle injury. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

With safety James Sample going on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury for the second consecutive year, Josh Evans and Jarrod Wilson will be competing to be the backup strong safety. Evans has started 37 games at free safety and strong safety over the past three seasons. It will come down to what the players do in Thursday's preseason finale at Atlanta, however. As for Sample, the team's fourth-round pick in 2015, he will have played in only four games in two seasons. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Titans cornerback Perrish Cox suffered an ankle injury the day before the preseason began. He'll play the most of any Titans starter Thursday night in Miami. Coach Mike Mularkey anticipates playing his starting units for only one series. But Cox should play the first quarter. The secondary has been a big issue, and the Titans hope his return can help settle down things. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos

Quarterback Mark Sanchez won't play in the Broncos' preseason finale Thursday night in Arizona, but beyond that he still doesn't exactly know his future with the Broncos or beyond. Rookie Paxton Lynch is scheduled to play the entire game Thursday night, and Trevor Siemian, who was named the Broncos' starter for the regular season, won't play against the Cardinals. If Lynch plays reasonably well, however, and the Broncos come away with the idea he could be the team's No. 2 quarterback, Sanchez probably would be released given the Broncos would not have to surrender a draft pick to the Eagles if Sanchez was not on the roster to start the season. Sanchez did say Tuesday he wanted to remain with the Broncos, but his salary is $4.5 million. Sanchez said he has not thought about where he might land if the Broncos part ways with him, offering only that he was "getting ready for Carolina." -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs will play at least the first six weeks of the season without linebacker Justin Houston, who was put on the physically unable to perform list. Houston had surgery in February to repair a balky ACL, and the Chiefs at the time gave a range of six to 12 months for his return. They will have trouble replacing Houston, who is a top pass-rusher but also excels against the run. Dee Ford, a former first-round draft pick, is first in line to replace Houston. Ford had a three-sack game last season against the Chargers in place of the injured Houston but has otherwise struggled with his consistency. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders

Word of Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffering a "significant" knee injury swept through the Raiders' final preseason practice Tuesday. Fellow quarterback and 2014 draft classmate Derek Carr asked reporters as he came off the field if the reports were true. Told they were, Carr could only mutter, "Dang" before later tweeting at Bridgewater, "I hope you are good bro!...My family and I are praying for you!" Khalil Mack, who was also in that 2014 draft, was similarly stunned. "Injuries, they suck, but you have to have guys that can step in," Mack said. "But it's unfortunate to hear that. Very unfortunate to hear that." -- Paul Gutierrez

San Diego Chargers

Joey Bosa practiced for the first time Tuesday, with teammates doing their best to make the rookie first-round pick feel at home. Bosa received some gentle ribbing from offensive lineman Joe Barksdale while being interviewed by a throng of reporters after practice. And defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had the defensive line group take a break during individual work to pose for a picture, with a long row of cameras on hand to watch Bosa's every move. "It means a lot that they're all welcoming me back with open arms like that," Bosa. "They all understand the business of the NFL and why I wasn't here." -- Eric D. Williams