MILE HIGH STADIUM, CO. – Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins, silenced doubters, at least for this week, with a strong opening touchdown drive in his only series on the night. He completed all four of his pass attempts for 42 yards, capped off with the one-yard touchdown completion to Stefon Diggs, as part of the Vikings 42-28 victory over the Denver Broncos.
The Vikings starting units needed just one series to satisfy Mike Zimmer before being relieved for the night. The starting defense forced the Broncos into a three-and-out to open the game before Cousins led the offense’s scoring drive.
The Broncos’ new starting quarterback, former Viking Case Keenum, played two series in his preseason debut. He completed just one of his four passes, going three-and-out on both of his drives.
- On this night, the Vikings’ management appeared brilliant for their offseason move at quarterback. Cousins validated their faith with a perfect scoring drive, while Keenum managed only one completion on two possessions.
- The defense appeared to have picked up where they left off by dominating the Broncos’ offense from the get-go. The second unit also held up well in keeping Denver off the scoreboard for much of the first half.
- Kicker Daniel Carlson made a strong case to unseat incumbent Kai Forbath. He hit both of his field goal attempts, one of them a 57-yarder. The onus is now on Forbath to answer next week.
- If there is one area of concern, it is the offensive line. When the starting offense was relieved for the night, only left tackle Riley Reiff exited with them. The rest of the group stayed on the field for a good portion of the night. Although a number of them had some good moments, as a unit, this group is still trying to find their footing.
Players Who Stood Out
Of all the additions the Vikings made, Cousins is by far the most important. Coming at a price tag of $84 million, there is little doubt the team believes him to be the answer at the NFL’s most important position and the final piece to their Super Bowl puzzle. To come out with a perfect opening drive was the best anyone could have hoped for. For at least this week, the Vikings look like they made the right choice to move on from Keenum.
After tonight’s performance, he’s likely got the inside track for the number three running back spot. Though he only had 29 yards on eight carries, it was his abilities as pass catcher that turned heads. He had three catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 78 yards.
Of the linemen vying for starting role, Isidora may have made the strongest case this week. He held his own and did not make many noticeable mistakes, if any. The line depth as whole, however, remains questionable.
Though he had one glaring mistake on the night, the rest of his night he made an impact. He had four tackles, including a drive-killing sack on third down, and a pass deflection. Unless he goes off the cliff the next three weeks, Bower should be an important part of the Vikings defensive line rotation going forward.
If he can continue to hitting long kicks like the 57-yarder he drilled tonight, Forbath may be looking for a new team when all is said and done. The rookie kicker showed off a very powerful leg and hit both of his attempts. One would have to assume that Forbath will be getting his opportunity to match or exceed the rookie’s performance next week.
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