Aug 15

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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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