Monthly Archive: August 2015

Aug 29

Preseason Game 3: Vikings vs Cowboys

The Vikings came into the 3rd preseason game (4th for them with the Hall of Fame game) at 3-0. They left the game 4-0. Mike Zimmer is perfect in the preseason since taking the helm of the Vikings. I wish that would translate to regular season games! I must admit that I’m feeling rather positive about the Vikings and their performance to date as we head into the regular season in two weeks.

Teddy was in control tonight.

Teddy was in control tonight.

The Good

  • Vikings were the first to score with a field goal late in the 1st quarter
  • The Vikings’ defense held the Cowboys to punts in the 1st quarter
  • Teddy hit Wallace on a deep ball for 39 yards
  • Cordarelle Patterson is alive and apparently can still run. 6 points for a TD on a kick-off return of 107 yards. Fun to watch. Let’s see it in the regular season when it counts.
  • Teddy finished the night 7/7 for 76 yards. He’s looking really sharp and has a preseason QB Rating of 111.7. Can’t wait to see what the offense will do when the real season starts.
  • In a pinch, Blair Walsh can punt. He can maybe punt better than Locke.
  • Tom Johnson had a great sack on Dustin Vaughn in the 2nd quarter for a loss of 14 yards. Would love to see that lots in the regular season – especially if it’s Aaron Rodgers’ face being driven into the turf.
  • Blair Walsh barely made a 48 yard field goal. The making of it was the good part. I hope having a named long-snapper (Kevin McDermott) will help smooth out his performance. Shout out Cullen Loeffler for 12 years of great performance.
  • Taylor Heinicke has some skills at QB. Hopefully we’ll at least keep him on the practice squad.
  • Dominique Williams had a nice 4 yard rushing TD in the middle of the 3rd quarter, putting the Vikings ahead, a lead that they maintained through the end of the game.
  • Heinicke to Chase Ford for a 2-point conversion after the Williams rushing TD.
  • Eric Kendricks had a very strong game. He wasn’t much to listen to as a mic’ed up player, but maybe that’s a good thing. His focus was on doing the job, making the team; not trash talking or running his mouth to try to prove himself.
  • Audie Cole recovered a fumble in the 4th quarter.
  • A Heinicke hand-off to Joe Banyard led to another Vikings TD late in the 4th quarter, giving the Vikings a 28-14 lead.
Coach Zimmer isn't taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

Coach Zimmer isn’t taking any crap from undisciplined dodos.

The Bad

  • Saw issues with stopping the run when the starting defense was in the game.
  • Also saw some weak tackling at times throughout the game. Constant them with this team.
  • Trae Waynes is still looking like an unproven rookie. Will be watching him during the regular season to see if he’s going to be worth the draft pick.
  • Shaun Hill went for a deep ball to Stefon Diggs in the 2nd quarter; instead of a completion, he was intercepted.
  • The 2nd string o-line started failing in the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter, letting the Cowboys’ defenders through to Heinecki repeatedly. Granted, the 2nd string players aren’t going to start, but I think we can all agree that the Vikings have had a run of bad luck with the offensive line starters over the last few years.

This capuchin monkey isn't happy with this stuff!

This capuchin monkey isn’t happy with this stuff!

The Ugly

  • 7 penalties on the Vikings in the 1st half. That’s unbelievably sloppy.
  • Walsh missed a 43 yard field goal at the end of the 3rd quarter. He’s only 4 for 7 in the preseason. He used to be so dependable. What has happened to him?
  • The 2nd half continued to lack discipline in the tackling and penalty arena. I can only assume that head coach Mike Zimmer is going to address that with the team this week as we had into the last preseason game.

The Inexplicable

  •  Audie Cole not starting in the 3rd preseason game at mike. What happened? He needs playing time. I think it’s clear that he has heart and talent. Let him get some first string reps where he belongs. Unofficially, Audie Cole is still listed as the starting middle linebacker; however, that’s a work in progress as Zimmer & his coaching staff continue to evaluate the talent. I, for one, will be watching the depth chart as we head into the first regular season game.

That’s the third preseason game in the bag, Vikings brethren. Predict the future in the poll below! See you next week for the last 2015 preseason game!

 

 

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Aug 15

Preseason Game 1: Vikings vs Buccaneers

Preseason Week 1 and the Vikings won; and that’s great! But… the Vikings could have won big if only they had maintained intensity and rigor for 60 minutes. The starters looked solid and then the play just kind of devolved into a sloppy mess from there, causing me to mentally check out in the middle of the 4th quarter.

Teddy was in control tonight.

Teddy was in control tonight.

The Good

  • The Vikings held the Bucs to a 3-and-out on their second offensive drive.
  • Bridgewater is looking amazing – accurate, crisp and decisive. Teddy went 7 for 8 for 86 yards tonight. Preseason to date, he’s at 12 of 14 for 130 yards for a QB rating of 105.4
  • Jerrick McKinnon looks just as speedy as  last season.
  • Robert Blanton made a great play at the 1 yard line to hold the Bucs to a field goal on their first scoring drive.
  • Antone Exum had a great interception early in the 2nd quarter.
  • Everson Griffen had a nice sack in the 1st quarter.
  • Shaun Hill hit Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone for 6 after Exum’s interception. A great way to rectify his earlier performance and for Cordarrelle Patterson to prove he can be an effective end zone target.
  • Shaun Hill hit Adam Thielen in stride for an excellent TD late in the 2nd quarter.
  • Blair Walsh has had a perfect season for extra points after the change, moving the ball to the 15 yard line.
  • The Hill-Thielen connection was strong in the 2nd quarter, resulting in a QB rating of 154.4 for Hill according to Paul Allen.
  • Zimmer’s interview during half-time made me laugh when he referenced “3 boneheaded plays” during the first half.
  • Blair Walsh hit a 42 yard field goal early in the 3rd quarter. Let’s hope we see a regular season performance reminiscent of his rookie year.
  • Eric Kendricks had some skills on display tonight. Will be interesting to see how that develops.
  • Mike Zimmer is 6-0 in the preseason. What I’d love is 16-0 in the regular season! I’ll take 11-5 though, in a pinch.
Sloppy play was exacerbated by stupid penalties.

Sloppy play was exacerbated by stupid penalties.

The Bad

  • The Vikings’ first drive was a bit anemic and resulted in only 3 points.
  • The Vikings’ second drive ended in a punt. The starters couldn’t put any points on the board against the Bucs’ starters on the drive.
  • The Vikings failed to successfully execute a 2-point conversion attempt after their first touch down. I like when Zimmer is aggressive, but clearly the execution needs to be there. The Vikings were also penalized for tripping on the failed attempt.
  • Shaun Hill’s first drive was less than auspicious, ending in a big sack for a loss.
  • After Exum’s interception early in the 2nd quarter, Shaun Hill started the offensive drive with an incomplete pass to Stefon Diggs. Later performance looked better so he may have just needed to knock the rust off.
  • The Vikings’ defense were able to get after Jameis Winston well in the 6 series the Bucs’ QB played.
  • Vikings D allowed Winston to run in a TD late in the 2nd quarter, breaking their 9 preseason quarters without allowing a TD streak. Paul Allen will be sad since he seemed extremely proud of that fact just prior to the TD. Sorry Paul!
  • Zach Line coughed up the ball on a carry at the very end of the 2nd quarter, leaving the Bucs with the ball and 25 seconds to do something with it.
  • Taylor Heinicke had a rough first series.
  • Early in the 3rd quarter, the Vikings drew a false-start penalty and immediately followed that with a Banyard fumble resulting in a turn-over. On the sidelines, Zimmer shook his head in disgust and I was with him on that.
  • Dominique Williams coughed up the ball on the goal line, resulting in a touchback for the Bucs.
This stuff is not good.

This stuff is not good.

The Ugly

  • Phil Loadholt looked to have suffered a serious lower leg injury during the first offensive series. Initial reports are now saying his injury is a torn Achilles, which is a season-ending injury from what I’ve seen. Assume we’ll get a full update from Zimmer after the game or tomorrow as the salient details are known.
  • Missed tackles. I’m tired of them.
  • Sloppy play – from penalties to turnovers. Zimmer will be very unhappy with this team post-game.
  • In the 3rd quarter, the Vikings’ defense was tripped up by a no-huddle offense and some general sloppiness. The end result was the Bucs basically walking into the end zone untouched. Let’s hope Zimmer takes care of that quickly.

The Inexplicable

  • Patterson taking an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty for taunting. When is that dude going to realize that he just needs to play and keep his mouth shut? Sometimes he reminds me of Percy Harvin or maybe the other 84 who only ever played when he felt like playing. Not good!

That’s the first preseason game, my Vikings friends. Based on tonight’s performance, what are your predictions for the Vikings’ 2015 Season?

 

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Aug 09

2015 Preseason: Hall of Fame Game

It’s a new season. A new chance for the Vikings to triumph. The question we always ask ourselves as Vikings fans is: will they?

The Hall of Fame Game is never played at anything that even resembles the same intensity as a regular season game. I think we can still learn a little about what the Vikings will look like this year. Let’s break it down.

Football is finally here!

Football is finally here!

The Good

  • The Vikings won. Preseason or not – I’ll take it.
  • Everson Griffen looks to be a great shape.
  • Marcus Sherels still looks speedy. He’s always been a favorite of mine so I’m hoping for some improved decision making from him this year.
  • Bridgewater’s first play was a snappy screen to Kyle Rudolph for an immediate first down. He was great for most of the first drive. One throw was a little low – but hey – it’s the preseason!
  • Zimmer had the defense looking aggressive early in the game.
  • Audie Cole sighting! Tipped a pass during the Steelers’ 2nd drive and is currently the starting mike, according to the unofficial depth chart. I like that move.
  • Matt Asiata picked up 18 yards on a great run. The o-line did a great job moving the action away from the ball carrier.
  • The Vikings scored a touch down in the 1st half!  Mike Kafka to MyCole Pruitt for 34 yards.
  • The Vikings managed to avoid a ton of penalties, although Trattou had a face-mask at the end of the first half and Waynes got flagged for holding at the start of the 2nd half. Sloppy mistakes.
  • Stefon Diggs had a great punt return and, according to the analysts, he’s been making some seriously good catches in practice. If he makes the team, we may have a chance to assess his skills in a higher pressure environment.
  • Brian Peters stripped a ball for a turnover right after the Vikings had turned the ball over (as referenced below in the “Bad” section).
  • Joe Banyard looks to be fairly speedy – good acceleration coming out of the backfield.
  • Heading into the 4th quarter, the Vikings defense still looked aggressive. I hope that is the theme for 2015 – I would love to see the Vikings have a disruptive defense feared by the other 31 teams. Impossible, you say? Well – a girl can dream…
  • It was nice to see the Vikings scoring touchdowns instead of field goal after field goal. Let’s hope that type of performance continues into the regular season.
Blair Walsh isn't performing like he did rookie year.

Blair Walsh isn’t performing like he did rookie year.

The Bad

  • The first drive ended in a non-converted 4th down attempt. Would have been great to see some real holes opened by the o-line on a 4th and 1. Even with a fullback, the Vikings couldn’t convert. No reason to not be aggressive in the play calling in the preseason; hope Zimmer takes some calculated chances in the regular season.
  • Steelers converted a 4th and 1 on the drive immediately following the one in which the Vikings did not. Preseason or not, we need to see those results reversed.
  • Still seeing a plethora of missed tackles out there. Gotta assume that Zimmer isn’t going to be happy with that, whether this is preseason or not. He strikes me as the kind of guy who isn’t going to accept low effort/lack of heart performances from anyone who wants a starting spot.
  • Blair Walsh didn’t make his first 48 yard field goal attempt. He didn’t consistently boot the ball out of the back of the end zone, either. Was his rookie season an anomaly? Is this the performance he’s settling into?
  • Mike Kafka… really?
  • Jeff Locke often makes me miss Chris Kluwe for actual football reasons, not just his social commentary.
  • Chase Ford basically handed a mishandled ball to the Steelers defense, causing a turn-over that will go down as an interception for Heinicke.
This capuchin monkey isn't happy with this stuff!

This capuchin monkey isn’t happy with this stuff!

The Ugly

  • Steelers converted a 3rd and 14 with ease. Yeah, I know it’s the preseason, but let’s recognize that the Vikings’ defense has had a history of allowing the opponent to convert 3rd downs with relative ease. I’m hoping for a big change there this year as Zimmer heads into his 2nd year as a head coach.
  • Vikings came out of the gate in 2nd half with Heinicke at the helm and… punted it away after failing to convert a 3rd down. Locke punted it right out of the end zone for a touch back.

The Inexplicable (at least for now)

  •  Trae Waynes was a 1st round pick? He got totally burned, committed blatant pass interference and generally didn’t impress. Had to agree with Collingsworth (as much as that hurt): good thing he’s getting his ego right-sized in the preseason. Cris also said he was going to be a very good player in the league. I’ll be the judge of that, Cris!
  • Mick Tinglehoff wasn’t mentioned until very late (less than 4 minutes remaining) in the 4th quarter. I understand he wasn’t a first-ballot nominee, but the Vikings were one of the two selected teams to play the game and they should have mentioned him earlier and they should have provided him the same coverage. Especially given his short term memory loss from playing the sport (which the announcers mentioned in passing).

And that’s that, my Viking brethren. The first of 5 preseason games is in the hopper. I kind of like the fact that the Vikings have this extra preseason game. Hopefully it will give us a strong start to the regular season!

Based on what you saw tonight, what’s your prediction for the 2015-2016 Vikings season?

 

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