The Viking pre-season opener was the first home outdoor game since Dec 29th 2010. The weather was a little more tolerable this time around. The field was fitted with new turf and heating tubes under it for those Dec. and hopefully Jan home games.
Vikings kick off. Raiders go 3 and out (with a penalty). Vikings corners are playing tight coverage. A far different defensive strategy than Vikings fans are used to. On Minnesota’s first possession, first play went Cordarrelle Patterson’s direction. He had 2 catches for 25 yards on the first drive which was capped off by a Matt Asiata one yard touchdown run.
My notables for the first Viking drive, first string offensive line’s pass protection still needs work. Matt Cassel didn’t have much time in the pocket to work with. Reminded me of last year. Greg Jennings had two balls tossed his way, one was a misfire by Cassel. Looked like Matt Cassel wanted to make a statement that he should be considered the Vikings starter with that first 10 play, 70 yard drive. Captain Munnerlyn had a good series on defense. Nice to see him in a Vikings uniform.
Vikings second possession, Teddy Bridgewater hit Greg Jennings on a nice scramble but it was nullified by a illegal formation penalty. Bridgewater looked smooth on the scramble and threw the ball accurately while running to his right. Jerick McKinnon got his first touch of the pre-season. Looked good at times but must learn that the NFL is much faster than he’s used to in college and must run North-South. He did have a nice 12 yard run on 3rd down. Vikings settle for a Blair Walsh 30 yard Field Goal attempt that ended up giving the Vikings a 10-0 lead with .54 seconds left in the first quarter. Notables was a Bridgewater fumble on a sack and Adam Thielen’s punt return before the Viking’s second possession.
Viking’s defense looked solid the whole first quarter stuffing the run for the most part and keeping the Raiders from crossing the 50 yard line until late in the second quarter. Anthony Barr got his first sack at the end of the first quarter. Early injuries were Mistral Raymond with a possible concussion. Adrian Peterson was understandably a healthy scratch as stated by Paul Allen numerous times in tonight’s simulcast.
Special teams looks steady. Adam Thielen looked comfortable returning punts and showed good ball security. Kick off coverage kept the Raider’s pinned around their 20 yard line.
The second quarter looked much more like a pre-season game. Notables were Jerome Simpson. He needs to fight for some of the throws tossed his way. Looked nonchalant on 2 balls thrown in his direction. Jarius Wright had a nice had a nice end around run for 17 yards.
While the Vikings #1’s dominated the Raiders #1’s, there wasn’t that same separation once the #2’s and #3’s came into the game. Teams played pretty even with a slight edge to the Vikings defense. Kurt Coleman had a pick and some good pass plays broken up. It was nice to see a player wearing #20 for the Vikings make some plays.
It was tough to see which first year quarterback had the edge. Bridgewater or Carr. Both struggled, like most rookies do and it seemed like the game is still a little quick for both of them.
The rest of the game was pretty much played in the middle of the field. Neither team moving the ball much. Christian Ponder entered the game and I was interested in how he would respond. He responded with lackluster play and the same hesitation to hit the receiver in the first window that got him in trouble last year. His play makes me think it would be a tough sell to keep him around as the Vikings #3 QB.
Oakland did manage to score a late touchdown and elected to go for 2, but failed and that gave us the final score of 10-6. Standouts from the 2’s and 3’s was Audie Cole. He made a few nice plays and continues to always be around the ball.
Coach Zimmer has his first per-season game under his belt and I get the impression he knows the team has a ways to go to get into opening day form, mainly with the reserves. It’s apparent he will have some tough choices to make as there wasn’t many standouts in the second half. While the Vikings came away with the win, it was a typically ugly pre-season win.