Vikings Third Preseason Game: A Few More Questions Than Answers
Written by Tony Schultz on August 26, 2019
The third preseason game for any team is supposed to be the starters for the first half and into the second half. The thought process here is to get prepared for the regular season and get the feel of a full game. While some starters were held out like Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith most of the starters were held to format. What should have been a smooth preseason warmup was a bit off kilter with some disturbing trends.
Kirk Cousins has been on fire this preseason and hadn’t been sacked once during the preseason. In fact NONE of the Vikings QB’s were put to the turf during the first two games. That changed Saturday as the Cardinals got to Cousins twice. The offensive line is still gelling, but both were pretty quick sacks and looked like an assignment was missed both times by the line or a running back that should have picked up the blitz. Cousins missed Stephon Diggs on a big pass play by overthrowing him and had a couple other off target throws. The offensive line did get a huge “atta boy” from star running back, Dalvin Cook as they beautifully blocked for him and he busted off a 85 yard touchdown run. Sean Mannion and Kyle Sloter fared batter in their campaigns at quarterback. Sloter drove down the field to throw the final touchdown.
FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE —–> VIKINGS.COM
A couple things that got muddied after this game were the third wide receiver spot and the kicker position. Chad Beebe had been the front runner to take the third wide out position, but he has had consecutive games where he misread the defensive stance and missed catching first down passes from Kirk Cousins. Rookie Bisi Johnson has looked good and may be making a push to take that position for himself. Karre Vedvik handled kicking duties for the Vikings and missed two field goals. One should have been a chip shot for the big legged kicker while the other was a 50+ yard kick that went wide right. The first one looked like he didn’t follow through fully while the latter was just missed. He has hit from over 50 yards previously with Baltimore so this was a bit of a strange occurrence. Maybe Vikings kickers are just cursed?! Matt Wile handled punting duties although I feel he will be released later this week and that will be Vedvik’s job while Dan Bailey will be the field goal kicker.
The Vikings defense still looked great! Jayron Kearse filled in for Smith and played well in relief duty. Hercules Mata’afa had some good push once again and Anthony Barr, well was Anthony Barr. He was all over the field in coverage and tackles. Xavior Rhodes had an off day and at times looked like he was limping. Not sure if there’s a problem there or if he just wasn’t giving his all for the whole game. The good news is cornerback Mike Hughes has been removed for the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) and will bring depth to the position that was becoming worrisome heading into the season.
The Vikings face the Buffalo Bills this Thursday night in the final preseason game. Don’t expect to see any starters during this match up. However, we will get a great look at those players that will round out the final roster and will contribute on special teams. Diamonds in the rough: it’s your chance to shine!