1. Brian Hoyer will make his Browns debut against the Vikings today after starting quarterback Brandon Weeden was ruled out with a thumb injury. Hoyer gets the nod over Jason Campbell, effectively jumping from No. 3 on the depth chart to No. 1. Coach Rob Chudzinski wouldn’t commit to Weeden once he’s healthy, so this is a tryout of sorts for Hoyer.
2. After the Trent Richardson trade to the Indianapolis Colts, the Browns signed former Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee on Thursday. McGahee takes over the No. 1 running back role in the backfield, though it’s unclear how much he’ll be able to contribute right away. McGahee is still recovering from a knee injury that led to his release in Denver.
3. After a couple of more drops last Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and more traffic violations a day later, Greg Little has been benched in favor of Davone Bess. Little will still receive a high volume of snaps but won’t get the start.
4. The Browns’ quarterback situation is a mess but the Vikings have questions at that position as well. Christian Ponder was selected high in the draft (12th overall in 2011) but hasn’t taken charge like the Vikings hoped he would. This year, Ponder has thrown for just 463 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions on 34-of-58 passing. When he took care of the ball, though, the Vikings won. Ponder went 7-1 last year when he didn’t throw an interception.
5. The Browns’ front seven is still not healthy. Outside linebacker Quentin Groves has been ruled out for the game with an ankle injury. The good news for the Browns is that defensive end Ahtyba Rubin is expected to return from a calf injury that sidelined him for the first two games. And rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo could play a bigger role after his NFL debut last week.