Ogbonnaya carries the load: Texans running back Chris Ogbonnaya gained 62 yards on 14 carries Thursday night, and a trio of big gains were nullified by holding penalties. Ogbonnaya, who is behind Arian Foster, Derrick Ward and Ben Tate on the depth chart, spoke after the game about his hopes for the future.
"You just gotta stay positive," Ogbonnaya said. "It's not up to me. It's up to the coaches; it's up to the GM. I hope I can stick around and I just wanted to leave everything out on the field."
The former Longhorn and Houston Strake Jesuit grad finished the preseason as the team's leading rusher with 192 yards on 54 carries. Ogbonnaya acknowledged that Thursday's performance was valuable also because it will serve as a bit of an audition tape for other teams to check out.
"It's important to show that you can play in this league, not just for one team," Ogbonnaya said. "Hopefully it will work out and we'll see what happens."
Little practice, no problem: The Texans signed veteran receiver Bryant Johnson earlier in the week and he was in the lineup Thursday against the Vikings. Despite the lack of time in the offense, he was still able to snare three passes for 64 yards. Head coach Gary Kubiak was encouraged by the effort.
"We just gave him a few games and obviously he went in and made a few plays," Kubiak said. "He's a veteran player and he's been successful in this league. I think we've been missing that throughout camp with so many young receivers. We'll go back to see how he played but I think he should be able to help us."
Johnson, who was a 2003 first round pick for Arizona, talked confidently about his capabilities after the Vikings game.
"I knew I'd be able to show my ability when I got a chance," Johnson said. "I'm happy with what I did tonight. As a veteran, you have to come in and be able to learn on the fly, and I think I did a good job of that."
Starters for a night: All of the regular starters both teams didn't play Thursday. Starting for the Texans on defense against the Vikings were nose tackle Damione Lewis, defensive ends Tim Bulman and Tim Jamison, outside linebackers Brooks Reed and Jesse Nading, inside linebackers Xavier Adibi and Tim Dobbins, cornerbacks Brice McCain and Sherrick McManis and safeties Troy Nolan and Quintin Demps.
The starters on offense were quarterback Matt Leinart, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, fullback Lawrence Vickers, wide receivers Dorin Dickerson and Derrick Townsel, tight end Garrett Graham, left tackle Derek Newton, left guard Cody Wallace, center Howard Barbieri, right guard Andrew Gardner and right tackle Cole Pemberton.
Holliday returns: Second-year returner Trindon Holliday hit the field for the first time since last August, and took back three kickoffs and three punts on the night. He averaged 26.3 yards per kickoff return and nine yards per punt, with a long of 16. He was easily the best returner for the Texans this preseason, but knows he isn't a lock to make the final 53-man roster.
"I just came out and tried to show the coaches that I can make this team," Holliday said. "I hope it's enough."
Kubiak saw mixed results from the former LSU Tiger on Thursday.
"He did a few good things. He had a few not so good things too but he's a very talented young man," Kubiak said.