Preseason games do not end in much more exciting factor than this one did. With a late touchdown and two-point conversion, the Vikings pulled out a dramatic 21-20 win over the Seahawks in front of their home crowd.
Here are a few of the major takeaways from the Vikings’ third preseason game.
The main thing everyone wanted to see form this game was a first team offense with rhythm and efficiency. While not as explosive as in week one, John DeFilippo’s crew showed a lot of positive signs against a solid Seattle defense. Kirk Cousins was under pressure constantly with the Seahawks’ heavy blitzing. But he, the line and the scheme all countered the onslaught with quick, accurate passing and solid protection. Cousins spread the ball around to Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell, and put the team in position to (theoretically) score 13 first half points. Overall, this was a good game for the starting offense.
It was a good game for the third offense, as well. Kyle Sloter and Chad Beebe are the Cousins-to-Diggs of the bottom half of the depth chart; over half of Sloter’s yards went to the rookie receiver. The most important hook-up came in the final minute as Sloter threw a strike on the run to Beebe in the end zone. Against expectations, those two are giving the coaches a lot to think about.
First and foremost, rookie kicker Daniel Carlson stood out in an unsavory way. Just days after officially winning the kicker battle, Carlson missed two 42-yard field goals, both wide left. Mike Zimmer was clearly frustrated with the rookie in his halftime interview. When asked if he is concerned about the missed kicks, Zimmer said only “Yes, yes definitely.” It is no time to write Carlson off, as he was clearly the better kicker between him and Kai Forbath through two games. But kickers have short leashes with Vikings fans.
Perhaps just as concerning in the first half was the play up the middle from the defense. Seattle ran basic trap plays, kicking out Sheldon Richardson and leaving massive holes to run through. The Vikings adjusted well in the second half, but for such a basic run scheme to be so effective against a good defense was a little unsettling.
Last, and perhaps least, Trevor Siemian. He looked incredibly uncomfortable from the second he stepped on the field. Through two games, Siemian has played OK, nothing spectacular, but general not over-matched. Against the Seattle blitz, he looked more than over-matched. His eyes were constantly feet in front of him instead of yards downfield. Compared with Cousins and Sloter, who maneuvered the pocket effectively, Siemian looked like an undrafted rookie playing his first NFL action.
Play(s) of the Game
Two throws from Sloter deserve top honor. The first was a scramble drill that somehow found paydirt. Flushed from the pocket and rolling to his left, Sloter fired the ball to Beebe streaking towards the end zone. Every part of Sloter’s body was past the line except for one foot, making it a legal pass. The ball just slipped by the outstretched arm of the Seahawk defender and landed perfectly in the arms of Beebe in the end zone for the touchdown.
However, the game was not over there. The Vikings decided to go for two to avoid overtime. Sloter took the snap and fired a quick flat out to Jake Wieneke a couple yards shy of the end zone. Wieneke absorbed a hit and fought for the front pylon. As it appeared he would come just short, the long-armed receiver stretched the ball across the plane for the go-ahead conversion.
This was the biggest game of the preseason for the entire roster. The first groups showed some positives and some things to work on heading into the regular season. On the back end of the roster, things are beginning to take shape. Beebe has given himself a strong case for a roster spot. Mike Boone appears to have the third running back slot cinched up. Jayron Kearse and Anthony Harris made strong cases in the wake of the George Iloka signing. Rookie Jalyn Holmes saw second team reps ahead of Ifeadi Odenigbo for the first time. This game gave observers a strong idea of what the coaches are thinking as far as roster moves.
The real question now becomes the backup quarterback. Sloter and Siemian had played more-or-less on the same level up to this point. But in week three, Siemian laid an egg and Sloter led a game-winning drive. Would the coaches actually consider a switch? Both will get a lot of snaps in week four. That very well may be the things that ultimately decides it.
Latest Vikings News
- Fall from Grace for the Once-Proud Minnesota Vikings Defense
- Vikings at Buccaneers: Preview and Prediction
- NFL Monday Night Football Odds: Vikings Favored to Claim Rare Win in Chicago
- Lions Commit Three Turnovers, Get Run Over in Loss to Minnesota
- Disappointing Vikings Poised for a Second Half Run