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Bengals vs Vikings Preseason Week 1: 5 Bengals to watch

Who are the players to watch in the Bengals first preseason game? These five players will have our attention when the Bengals’ preseason opener kicks off on Friday night.

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There’s an endless amount of questions after the first few weeks of training camp. Come this Friday, we’ll hopefully begin to get some answers. The Bengals will take the field for the first time this season against the Minnesota Vikings. For some players, it’s just a routine part of the season, for others it’s one of the most important nights of their life. Here are five Bengals you’ll want to keep yours eyes on Friday and why.

1. Jake Kumerow

The 6 foot 5 product of division three Wisconsin-Whitewater has been as big of a fan favorite as practice squad players can get. This year, he has a real shot at making the roster with the departures of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. He had a great start to training camp before a hamstring strain sidelined him for about a week, and his improved game could be an asset for the Bengals in 2016. At the beginning of training camp I would have said Kumerow is playing for a roster spot. While that’s probably still true, it’s not crazy to think he won’t be also playing for regular season snaps as well. It’ll be interesting to see if he shines, as well as what personnel groups he’s placed with.

2. C.J. Uzomah

Uzomah has probably had the most surprising training camp performance. Drafted last year to be a reserve receiving tight end (where Tyler Kroft was drafted as more of a blocker) we didn’t get to see much of the Auburn product in his rookie year. However, with Tyler Eifert currently out due to injury and Kroft following suit, C.J. will be the No. 1 tight end on Friday. He’s looked smooth with the ones for the last week or so now and if he can produce in the preseason everyone will benefit. It will allow the offense to continue as planned, while letting fans breathe easy as Eifert finishes up the recovery from his recent ankle surgery.

3. Nick Vigil

This year’s third round pick has had a quiet yet successful camp so far. He’s running with the second team defense right now and will probably only be rotational this year, but he’s looked comfortable working in practice. I can’t wait to see him in his first live NFL action.

4. Cedric Ogbuehi

While Big Ced is the starting right tackle coming into to training camp, he’s going to have to earn his keep unless he wants to be back on the bench. Brian Robison and Everson Griffen are going to make him work regardless of how many snaps he’s in. His first showing as a starting tackle is going to go a long way in how this position battle is dictated for the rest of the preseason. If he’s good, there probably won’t be much to talk about. But if Ogbuehi should disappoint, that may just open the door wide enough for Jake Fisher to get a shot down the line.

5. Shawn Williams

With Reggie Nelson departing in the off-season, the strong safety spot moves to the 2013 draft pick. Williams was a rotational player in 2015 but doesn’t have a wealth of starting experience. He’s probably best remembered for the game changing interception that led to a Bengals win at Pittsburgh last year. All things considered he should work out just fine, but I’m going to be watching him a little more now that he’s a full-time starter. He had some bad blown coverages when I watched him in person at camp, but I’m hoping that once we’re at game speed and with some work under his belt during the last two weeks, that doesn’t happen in live action.