Five early takeaways: Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings

Jakeem Grant proved something this summer. (Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS—With training camp and the preseason out of the way for the Dolphins, who are closing it out at Minnesota tonight, the present task is to determine who can help them when the season kicks off next weekend.

Even with the majority of the starters sitting out against the Vikings, Miami got a good look at some players who will be real contributors during the regular season.

[Photos: Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings preseason game]

Here’s what the Dolphins learned:

1. Jakeem Grant is ready for a regular role at receiver.
In 2016, coach Adam Gase spent much of his offseason thinking of ways to better use Damien Williams. The result? He was third on the team in total touchdowns last season. This year, Gase made Grant his special project, and the tinkering has been evident throughout the past month. Grant will hold down his job as a return man, but he’s also been impressive as a wide and slot receiver. He raced wide open for a 28-yard catch from Brandon Doughty in the first quarter, then ran away right off the line of scrimmage to catch a 65-yard touchdown from David Fales.

2. First-round pick Charles Harris needs some seasoning.
Harris fell into an ideal situation playing behind Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, allowing him a nice cushion as he acclimates to the NFL. He’s not an instant-impact pass rusher right now and didn’t get much traction against the Vikings’ backups tonight. Look for Wake and Branch to play at least 70 percent of the snaps in the season opener against Tampa Bay.

3. Gase is fully confident that Jay Cutler is up to speed.
Not only did Gase hold Cutler out despite him being on the team for a little over three weeks, he pulled him early in the Philadelphia game the previous week. By doing so, he made it clear Cutler is ready to roll. He’s totally caught up on the playbook, he’s got good cohesion with the receivers and his feel for traffic in the pocket is back. Given that, the Dolphins won’t be leaning on any excuses about him not having enough time to get ready.

4. Miami’s offensive line depth is seriously questionable.
There are concerns about the Dolphins’ starting five up front, including an open job at left guard, and it doesn’t look like there’s dependable depth behind that group. Isaac Asiata, a fifth-round pick, looks like he’ll be inactive on game days until he progresses a little more. There’s zero experienced depth at tackle after Sam Young, who’s had his own trouble in the preseason. Based on them using 10 different starters last year, the second unit must get better quickly.

5. Davon Godchaux deserves to start at defensive tackle.
If the Dolphins aren’t worried about hurt feelings, it’s clear Godchaux has put together more “good days,” as Gase calls them, than third-year defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. By his own admission this week, Phillips still isn’t giving consistent effort. When asked, for example, what’s gone better for him lately, he said he was “just playing harder, honestly.” Gase started both of them next to each other tonight, and Phillips fell short of the kind of dominant performance—against backups—that would have cemented it for him.

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