The Vikings will put their new-look offense to work Thursday night in their preseason opener at Buffalo at 6PM.

Since it is the first preseason game, the first unit might only get a series or two. But some things will be different. Longtime Viking Adrian Peterson is gone. The offensive line has some new components. The young receiving corps is a year older. Quarterback Sam Bradford has a full year in coach Mike Zimmer's system.

Vikings fan Todd Walkingstick, of Owatonna, attended his 24th consecutive training camp in Mankato this month. He was impressed by Bradford's accuracy and touch with his throws. He also has high hopes for rookie running back Dalvin Cook.

Walkingstick's biggest concern about Thursday's game at Buffalo is injury, noting that each year some teams lose a player for the season during preseason games. The idea of reducing the number of exhibition games comes up periodically and he would like to see that happen, especially since teams charge full price for tickets to the preseason contests.

Minnesota plays at Seattle on August 18, then hosts San Francisco on August 27 and Miami on August 31 to complete their preseason schedule.

The announcement by the Vikings that this year was their last in Mankato for training camp hit Walkingstick hard. He spoke about that in the interview we conducted this week.

Walkingstick is a strong local sports promoter as well. His Beyond the Game weekly online interview show features Owatonna athletes Laura Ebeling and Kenna West this week, in addition to longtime assistant football coach Delles Solie.

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