(Sports Network) - Sam Bradford will make his debut in a Rams uniform when the No. 1 overall pick and his new team play host to the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason opener for both squads Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome.
Even with all of the hope attached to Bradford by the Rams' beleaguered fan base, it could be the Vikings quarterbacks that are playing with greater urgency on Saturday.
Given the latest retirement murmurs surrounding Brett Favre, it will be vital that Vikings head coach Brad Childress gets one of his other three quarterbacks prepared to open the team's Week 1 game against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints. The de facto No. 1 at this stage is ex-starter Tarvaris Jackson, though if the previous struggles that have plagued the former second-round pick rear their ugly head again, either Sage Rosenfels and/or raw but promising rookie Joe Webb could get a chance to insert themselves into the mix.
Also at issue for the Vikings is the running back position, where rookie Toby Gerhart (Stanford) and newcomerRyan Moats (ex-Texans) are trying to stake their claim to the backup job behind Adrian Peterson.
On Leslie Frazier's defense, the play of an oft-maligned secondary will bear watching on Saturday. Safeties Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson could be pushed by Jamarca Sanford, while incoming cornerbacks Lito Sheppard (ex-Jets) and Chris Cook (Virginia) are battling holdover Benny Sapp for the corner job oppositeAntoine Winfield.
On the injury front for the Vikes, cornerback Cedric Griffin (knee) and E.J. Henderson (leg) are unlikely to be in uniform as they recover from serious injuries.
Without question, most of those who buy a ticket for Saturday's game will be there to see Bradford, who will be seeing his first game action since suffering a repeat shoulder injury in a loss to the University of Texas last Oct. 18. Fellow newcomer A.J. Feeley (ex-Eagles), who could be the team's temporary starter coming out of training camp, will also see some time.
Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will also be seeking to identify some wide receiver prospects, with holdover Laurent Robinson and fourth-round rookie Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati) among those trying to win a job opposite Donnie Avery. Gilyard may miss the preseason opener, however, after injuring his wrist in a scrimmage last weekend.
Defensively, Rams fans will have a chance to gauge whether incoming linebackers Na'il Diggs (from Panthers) and Bobby Carpenter (ex-Cowboys) and defensive tackle Fred Robbins (from Giants) can make an impact.
The all-time preseason series between the Vikings and Rams is deadlocked at 5-5, with St. Louis evening the series by virtue of a 13-10 road victory in the last such meeting, prior to the 2007 season.
The teams also met in meaningful play in St. Louis last Oct. 11, a 38-10 Vikings victory.