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Aug 09

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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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