Texans Players to Watch: Texans vs. Vikings

Patrick D. Starr

The window is closing on the preseason and on plenty of NFL careers by Friday, when the Houston Texans' roster must be trimmed to 53. With 75 on the current roster, decisions are to be made that will impact the franchise and the futures of NFL players after the final whistle on Thursday.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming to town for the final assessment to be made on bubble and practice squad players. There will be some starters out there on Thursday and expect players like Moran Norris, Shiloh Keo, Jesse Nading, Trindon Holliday, John Beck and others to get plenty of snaps. It is players like them that are fighting to stay on the roster, and it will be good to see them get some much-needed work.

We have talked about Jonathan Grimes and Hebron Fangupo and think both have a realistic shot to be with the team in some capacity, but on the active or practice squad are the questions that need to be answered. Draft picks Whitney Mercilus, Ben Jones, Jared Crick and Brandon Brooks will get some work before their 2012 NFL debut.

Plenty of players we haven't seen since game one will get some time under the lights to keep their NFL hopes alive.

SOTT's Players to Watch

Shawn Loiseau (#90, Linebacker)

The only young inside linebacker brought in during the off-season, Loiseau will have the majority of the snaps against the Vikings. He has gotten some run during the first three games on defense and on special teams, but now it is his time to shine. We know he is fighting for his shot to make it to the Texans practice squad, and he has one more shot to impress and state his reason why he belongs in Houston. One of the fan favorites, Loiseau has to show he can come downhill when needed in the run game.

Nathan Menkin, Offensive
Nathan Menkin, Offensive Tackle #77

Nathan Menkin (#77, Offensive Tackle)

Talk about one of the more interesting Texans players on the roster, and he is also one of the more gifted but raw players on the roster. Coming out of Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor (Belton, TX), his learning curve has been steep but there has been enough progression in his game to open some eyes. The 6-4 296 lbs. offensive tackle has been timed at a sub 5.0 forty yard dash and has good strength also, which is exactly what the Texans look for in their offensive lineman. He needs a productive game to show he understands what the Texans want.

Case Keenum (#7, Quarterback)

We try not to look too much into what Head Coach Gary Kubiak says, but every time he talks about Keenum there is a feeling that there is something there the Texans like. Keenum will get the second half of the game with the offense and will be judged on how he compares to John Beck. Keenum, after a slow start to training camp, has shown some promise to turn himself into a potential NFL quarterback on the active roster. The practice squad is realistic for him but if he can be just as good as Beck, Keenum could easily force Beck to the free agent market and open up another roster spot for another worthy player.

DeVier Posey (#11, Wide Receiver)Pictured Above

So many expectations for Posey coming into the preseason, he is still without a catch as we speak. Plenty of speculation and the term "bust" has been thrown his way from the fan base, but it is hard to say anything like that without any real games being played. Patience is what the Texans will show with Posey, especially with the emergence of Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean. There is no rush on him, barring injury, but keeping him on the field and learning is the key for Posey. Getting him a catch in an NFL game is priority number one.

Phillip Supernaw (#48, Tightend) and Logan Brock (#85, Tightend)

One thing that both Supernaw and Brock have done these past few games is show up on special teams units and make some tackles. They are both good-sized players and both have their positives when stepping on the field. Brock is more of the big bodied blocker while Supernaw has more of the hybrid tightend feel to him, being decent in blocking and pass catching. If anything, both of these rookies are competing for a spot on the practice squad and there is probably only room for one of them. Let the best man win.

Eddie Pleasant (#35, Safety)

A very physical player from the secondary, Pleasant put that hitting on display last week against the New Orleans Saints. He hasn't been seen much in the coverage game, but he has been most impressive filling holes inside the box. He is a rare player who is not scared to put his nose into ball carriers chest and, if he can put together another solid game, there is no reason why he will not be with the team during the season. We think the practice squad is a good spot for him and another year of seasoning can help him.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans and is a draft analyst on Sideline Scouting.

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