The Houston Texans (2-1) conclude their 2012 preseason slate against the Minnesota Vikings (1-2) on Thursday, Aug. 30 at Reliant Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CDT.
Thursday will be the players’ last chance to impress, as both teams must trim their rosters to 53 by Friday, Aug. 31. Houston’s reserves will get that chance with many, if not all, of Houston starters being held out of the game.
Houston is coming off a 34-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in what proved to be a very dramatic third preseason game. After taking a 14-7 lead and driving 120 yards in their first two possessions, the Texans committed two crucial turnovers that led to 10 points and a New Orleans lead. WR Trindon Holliday’s fumble on a kickoff was returned for a touchdown and rookie WR Keshawn Martin’s fumble on the Texans next possession was converted into a field goal. Texans QB Matt Schaub completed 15-of-18 passes for 194 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Martin, one of eight receivers he connected with on the Texans’ first three possessions.
TE Garrett Graham caught four passes for 97 yards, 77 of which came in the first half.
The Texans and Saints were knotted at 24-24 at halftime and pulled their starters prior to the third quarter. New Orleans scored a touchdown with 3:38 remaining in the game to provide the difference.
Graham leads the Texans and ranks fourth in the AFC with 141 yards receiving on seven receptions. Holliday, who has scored both on a punt and kickoff return this preseason, leads the AFC with a 43.6 kickoff return average and is second in the NFL with a 16.4 average on punt returns. Rookie first-round pick DE Whitney Mercilus leads the Texans on defense with 2.5 sacks.
Minnesota fell 12-10 to the San Diego Chargers last Saturday. The Vikings missed a field goal and committed four turnovers in the loss. Houston is looking for redemption after its last encounter with Minnesota in the 2011 preseason finale, a 28-0 shutout at Mall of America Field at the H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings lead the all-time regular season series 2-0 after defeating Houston in 2004 and 2008.
Houston and Minnesota will face each other in Week 16 of the regular season.