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Kai Forbath (K, Min)

The competition between Marshall Koehn and Kai Forbath for Minnesota's kicking job remains close, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.


Forbath converted his only field-goal attempt in Minnesota's first preseason game, from 36 yards. Forbath made all 15 of his field-goal attempts after joining the Vikings in the middle of last season following the release of Blair Walsh. However, Koehn is seen having a stronger leg. Although the competition is close, it would still seem unlikely the Vikings would give the job to a kicker who hasn't played in a regular season NFL game over a kicker who had success for them last season.

The competition between Marshall Koehn and Kai Forbath for Minnesota's kicking job remains close, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Koehn converted an extra point, but did not attempt a field goal in Minnesota's first preseason game.


Koehn is seen having more leg strength than Forbath, which gives him the edge on kickoffs. However, it's hard to see the Vikings giving the job to Koehn, who hasn't kicked in regular season NFL game, over a veteran. Plus, Forbath made all 15 field-goal attempts last season. Still, it sounds like this job battle may not be decided until late in training camp.

Noah Spence, who recorded a tackle for loss in last Friday's preseason opener against the Bengals, is expected by coaches and teammates to emerge as a dominant force in 2017, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "Everybody talks about Noah being a double-digit sack guy and all that," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. "Really, we just need him to be as aggressive as he can be, and sometimes it's not on the stat sheet. If he can draw the offensive line turning to him or draw some double teams or chips, it's going to allow other guys to get there."


The second-year defensive end managed 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles during his rookie campaign, despite playing the majority of the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder that ultimately required offseason surgery. Spence impressed in joint practices against the Jaguars on Monday and Tuesday, and defensive-line teammates like Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers have also voiced lofty expectations for Spence, with the former comparing him to legendary pass rushers like the late Derrick Thomas, and the latter labeling him as a "15-plus-sack guy". Spence's combination of speed, flexibility and athleticism – and Smith's aggressive scheme – could potentially help him make a similar Year-2 leap to that of the Falcons' Vic Beasley, who went from four quarterback takedowns in his rookie 2015 campaign to an NFL-leading 15.5 sacks last season.

Alan Cross, whose two-reception, 30 yard-effort in last Friday's preseason opener against the Bengals earned him praise from head coach Dirk Koetter, has a chance to earn a backup tight end role once again this season, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports.


Cross beat the odds last season to make the roster as an undrafted free agent and is on a quest to do the same in 2017, despite the significant upgrade in talent at the top of the positional depth chart. Dynamic first-round pick O.J. Howard and the emerging Cameron Brate are naturally locks for the final roster, while veteran Luke Stocker is likely to be kept around for a seventh season due to his in-line blocking prowess. That leaves Cross in a battle with the likes of Austin Johnson, Tevin Westbrook and the impressive Antony Auclair for a possible fourth tight end spot, one that he'll look to get the upper hand in during Thursday's contest versus the Jaguars.

Ronald Leary (groin) started in the Broncos' preseason opening win versus the Bears.


Leary had been a limited participant in practice due to a groin injury, but appears to be past that issue. The Broncos would have been unlikely to have him take the field had the injury still been holding him back. The 28-year-old logged 15 snaps in the contest – barring any setbacks, he appears on track for Week 1.

Cameron Erving injured his calf during Tuesday's practice and will miss Monday's preseason game, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.


Coach Hue Jackson believes Erving will be healthy before the regular season commences, but the offensive tackle will miss valuable time. Erving is currently fighting for a roster spot, and his calf injury may doom his odds.

Joel Bitonio left team drills Tuesday after falling during a running play and will miss the remainder of the preseason, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.


Although Bitonio won't suit up during the team's final three preseason games, coach Hue Jackson fully expects Bitonio to be ready for the season's opening contest against the Steelers on Sep. 10. The offensive tackle – who is coming back from Lisfranc surgery in October of 2016 – signed a five-year, $51 million extension in March and is expected to be a crucial part of Cleveland's running attack.

Zane Gonzalez made all five of his field-goal attempts during Tuesday's practice, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.


Gonzalez was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft in order to compete with incumbent Cody Parkey, but while the rookie had a stronger day than his competitor on Tuesday, Parkey still has the upper hand. The next few preseason games should paint a clearer picture as to whom will win the job.

Casey Kreiter (calf) has been a full participant throughout training camp, Andrew Mason of the Broncos' official website reports.


Kreiter landed on the team's injured reserve in the latter portion of last season due to a calf injury. He appears to have undergone a full recovery, as he has been participating in training camp activities. He projects to be the team's long snapper heading toward the regular season.

Cody Parkey is outperforming rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez so far in training camp, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.


Per the report, Gonzalez made all five of his field-goal attempts during Tuesday's practice, while Parkey only managed to hit three. Nonetheless, Parkey has been more accurate throughout camp and is still expected to be Cleveland's kicker going forward.

Marlon Brown (undisclosed) returned to action in the Broncos' preseason opening win over the Bears, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post reports.


Brown recorded one catch for 15 yards in his return. It was his first action since being placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury in December. While the practice squad figures to be his likely destination, he will look to impress as the preseason progresses.

Vance McDonald (W, SF)

General manager John Lynch said that he is "very pleased" with Vance McDonald's performance in a crowded tight end competition during training camp, Cam Inman of The Mercury News reports.


Lynch's positive statement comes just a week after head coach Kyle Shanahan showered the veteran tight end with praise. While the club explored trading McDonald and his lengthy contract this offseason, the positive reviews we are hearing out of camp signal that he is the favorite to regain the 49ers' starting tight end job leading up to Week 1. The 27-year-old would likely serve as a fringe TE1 in deeper formats if he were to win the job.

Kendrick Bourne continued his solid showing this preseason with a pair of touchdown receptions in Wednesday's joint practice with the Broncos.


Wednesday's strong practice session followed Friday's preseason debut where the undrafted rookie hauled in a long touchdown – albeit against broken coverage by the Chiefs' backups – putting himself into the conversation for one of the 49ers' final roster spots. At 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, Bourne possesses the size that the 49ers lack at the receiver position. The only thing holding him back is a lack of speed (4.68 40-yard dash time), which could come into play when the club takes a look at who would be the best fits for special teams.

Tyler Ervin regularly lined up as a slot receiver during the Texans' preseason opener against the Panthers, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. He caught his lone target for eight yards and didn't get a rushing attempt.


Ervin's a multi-tasker, running the ball, catching the ball and returning kicks, but the Texans have three running backs ahead of him. With some uncertainty at wide receiver, the Texans are giving Ervin a look as a wide receiver. He had a rocky rookie season in 2016, particularly in the area of ball security, but the Texans see that as correctable and are enticed by his versatility.

D.J. Humphries (hamstring) returned to practice Wednesday, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. "It felt good today." Humphries said.


Penciled into the starting lineup as the starting left tackle, Humphries took it easy the past week and a half as he recovered from a mild hamstring strain, sitting out Saturday versus the Raiders. Now back in action, he'll continue to protect Carson Palmer's blind side.

Juju Smith-Schuster (W, Pit)

Juju Smith-Schuster departed practice early Wednesday due to a lower-body injury, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "It doesn't appear to be as serious as it appeared to be, but I don't have any information," Tomlin said. "He's being evaluated right now."


Smith-Schuster is proving injury-prone as a professional, missing some time at the start of training camp with a minor ankle ailment before sustaining a potential concussion in Friday's preseason opener. While he was able to practice already Sunday, the rookie wideout seemed to favor his knee after a running play during a team drill Wednesday. Without a diagnosis, it's difficult to project when he'll return to practice or if his status is in question for Sunday's preseason tilt against the Falcons. For the time being, though, he'll be sidelined from the competition for the slot position in the first-team offense.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday that Lucky Whitehead will undergo foot surgery this week, Darryl Slater of NJ.com reports.


Whitehead has endured an unfortunate past few weeks, from mistaken identity leading to his release by the Cowboys to breaking his foot at practice Monday. The initial prognosis gave Whitehead a 4-6 week recovery, but Bowles wouldn't commit to any sort of timetable, other than to say the return man "could" return at some point this season. With Whitehead out to start the campaign, the Jets will look to Frankie Hammond, Romar Morris and Marcus Murphy to cover kick and punt returns.

Zaire Anderson (neck) took the field for the Broncos' preseason opener, Omaha.com reports.


Anderson signed a free-agent tender with the Broncos during the offseason. He was last seen being carted off the field during the team's regular-season finale due to a neck injury. He appears to be recovered from the issue, as he recorded three tackles in the team's preseason opener. The 24-year-old projects to provide depth at inside linebacker this season.

Derek Hart has landed on the Packers' injury report due to an illness, Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports.


Hart is attempting to win the role as the Packers' long snapper. He's in competition with Brett Goode, who re-signed with the team during the offseason, so a quick return to practice figures to be advantageous for his chances.

Aaron Peck is currently dealing with a neck issue, Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports.


Peck is looking to make an impression during training camp, as he figures to be a long shot at landing on the final roster. The neck injury will certainly hinder his chances, but the severity of the issue is unknown.