New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings: Five Players To Watch

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Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with New England Patriots wide receiver

Aaron Dobson

(17) during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Aaron Dobson

Not much has been made of Dobson missing last week’s game, but I think he could have made a big difference for the Patriots’ offense. Dobson is the one outside wideout that can stretch the field, which was something Tom Brady desperately needed against Miami. I thought Brandon LaFell could potentially make some plays after he was signed in the offseason, but he was shut-out against the Dolphins, and I don’t think he will fare any better against Minnesota.

However, assuming Dobson will be active, this is his chance to prove that he is an improved player, and can hold his own on the outside. If Brady is given time in the pocket, there is going to be a ton of mismatches for him to attack, including going to number 17. Based on what I saw in New England’s final preseason contest, Dobson has the speed, the strength, and more importantly, the hands to make his presence felt outside the numbers.

The Patriots will need that going forward, so they can take some pressure off of Julian Edelman and company in the middle.