Vikings players who need a big game against the Chiefs

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A lot of Vikings players could use big games against the Chiefs for a confidence boost or just to get on the right track before the season.

But for the players on this list, the stakes are higher. Vikings Wire compiled a list of players who need to have a good preseason game, or else they could be looking at a small role on the roster, or a spot on the practice squad.

A note: players who were out of practice on Wednesday are not included on this list. That said, if Dru Samia and James Lynch end up participating in the Chiefs game, they would really need to play well.

Here is the list:

OT Blake Brandel

Minnesota Vikings tackle Blake Brandel stretches during the NFL football team's training camp Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Eagan, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Brandel had a strong performance against the Broncos, but he struggled the next preseason game against the Colts. Brandel gave up five pressures to finish with a PFF grade of 39.4. He could still win the swing tackle spot with a big game against Kansas City, though.

TE Zach Davidson

Minnesota Vikings tight end Zach Davidson (40) tries to break a tackle by Indianapolis Colts defensive back Andre Chachere (36) during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Davidson has struggled with drops this preseason. He finished the Indianapolis game with a PFF overall grade of 38.4. Out of college, he was seen as a raw talent. He may be too raw to make one of tight end spots on the active roster this offseason. He needs to show promise against Kansas City, or else he could be looking at the practice squad.

G Dakota Dozier

Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Dakota Dozier (78) in action in the second quarter during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Bears defeated the Vikings 33-27. (AP Photo/David Berding)

Dozier played well against the Colts. He may have put himself in a position to make the active roster. He's coming off a 2020 season where he struggled as a starter. He had a very inconsistent game against the Broncos in the preseason opener, but a good game against the Chiefs could help earn him a reserve role.

QB Kellen Mond

Aug 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond (11) throws in front of Indianapolis Colts defensive end Isaac Rochell (91) during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

At times, Mond looked worse in the Colts game than he did in the Broncos preseason matchup. He has to perform against the Chiefs, or else the Vikings could go in a different direction for backup quarterback. I don't think Mond is in danger of missing the 53-man roster, mostly because he'd be a great player to poach off the practice squad, with him being considered a project quarterback. Still, the Vikings may not put him in a place to see the field in 2021. He has to step up against Kansas City.

QB Jake Browning

Aug 14, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (99) is held as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jake Browning (3) scrambles in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Someone has to win the backup quarterback spot. Browning has a chance to do so against Kansas City. He has struggled in both preseason games so far, but if he led some scoring drives against the Chiefs, he could be on the inside track to backing up Cousins. However, Browning putting together another inconsistent performance could make the team go out and look for a backup quarterback elsewhere.

DE Kenny Willekes

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Kenny Willekes (79) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Broncos won 33-6. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Also like Dozier, Willekes had a great game vs. the Colts. The defensive end tallied three pressures. But also like Dozier, Willekes may need to string together another good performance in order to make the team. Willekes has shown flashes of promise but he's competing in a crowded defensive line room, especially with the Vikings signing Everson Griffen recently. He has to make his case to stay on the active roster Friday in Kansas City.

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