The end of July means one thing to football fans and that is the return of their favorite game. Training camps are officially underway and it is almost time for preseason football. They aren’t the same as regular season games, that is clear; but they are better than continued waiting for the next season to start. This is the time of year when several teams who could have a chance at a Super Bowl run begin to ramp up for the season. They all realize that a strong and productive training camp is key to long term success during the season. The preseason is a great opportunity for the new players to learn the system and show how they can contribute to the team. Recent draft choices will be vying for jobs against free agents and seasoned pros. It is an exciting time for the league, players and fans.
This year the first preseason game features two historic teams. The annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio will host the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Minnesota Vikings. This is especially interesting since both a Steeler (Jerome Bettis) and a Viking (Mick Tingelhoff) are being inducted this year. The game should be entertaining, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leading Pittsburgh’s offense. They will be fun to watch this year since Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant proved last year that they are a formidable duo at wide receiver. Running back Le’Veon Bell will be out to start the season but the Steelers brought in veteran DeAngelo Williams to carry the ball in his absence. On defense, the Steelers are without long time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau who was replaced by Keith Butler. Their defense is always strong though, especially at linebacker with Jarvis Jones and newcomer Bud Dupree.
The story around the Minnesota Vikings always seems to revolve around Adrian Peterson lately as he returns to the Vikings after his recent troubles. He has a restructured contract and is looking forward to the 2015 season. Their quarterback is Teddy Bridgewater, beginning his third year as a pro. Veteran Shaun Hill will also get some playing time. The Vikings have a strong corps of defensive backs like Terence Newman and a wealth of wide receivers including former Steeler Mike Wallace.
This game will be a great start to another exciting football season. The Hall of Fame game is traditionally the beginning of the next chapter in the long history of the National Football League.