Well, the good news is that we all know what to expect out of Preseason Game #4. What made the game less fun was the fact that the Titans had 14 points on the board mid-way through the 1st quarter. Of course, the Titans had their 1st stringers in the game playing against the Vikings’ non-starters. This only served to highlight just how steep the drop-off is between the Vikings’ starters and their “next man up” corps.
Heinicke played the entire game, passing for over 200 yards, but faltered on the last drive resulting in Mike Zimmer’s first preseason loss since assuming the head-coaching job with the Vikings last year.
Let’s break it down…
- Taylor Heinicke had some solid plays as QB, including some scampers that kept drives alive. He’s got some future potential brewing, I think.
- Marcus Sherels can always be counted on to play his heart out.
- The defense had some nice sacks throughout the game. For some reason, I always enjoy sacks a whole lot more when it’s #12 in the puke green and mustard yellow being driven to the turf under a wave of purple. But that’s just me.
- Not overly impressed by this, but it wasn’t a fail: near the end of the 2nd quarter, Walsh managed to hit a 33 yard field goal. Yeeha. Extra point range these days, hopefully signals that he’ll at least make those during the season.
- The Vikings showed some signs of life on offense in the 3rd quarter.
- The Vikings finally scored a TD in the 3rd quarter. Heinicke hit the receiver in stride and Paul Allen and Rick Spielman talked about it like it was the most unusual thing ever. And, to be fair, maybe it is for a 3rd string QB.
- Audie Cole sighting mid-way though the 3rd quarter.
- Michael Mauti wasn’t wasting any time in the 4th quarter when he blocked and recovered a punt. Luckily I was back from making my sandwich just in time to witness it.
- Heinicke to Harris for TD off the punt recovery brought the Vikings to within 7 points.
- On the Vikings last offensive drive, Heinicke had a great connection with Ryan Whalen, who was back in the game after getting the wind knocked out of him.
- Stefon Diggs fumbled the ball away in an attempt to stretch for a 1st down. Gotta take care of the ball, Stefon!
- Taylor Heinicke got hit a tremendous amount of times – however, the refs didn’t call Roughing the Passer until the 3rd quarter.
- The 4th quarter was a big ol’ snooze-fest so I went to make a sandwich.
- The Vikings had offensive pass interference called on them in the 4th quarter on the last offensive drive, nullifying a 4th down conversion. Replaying the 4th down resulted in a Heinicke sack and a win for the Titans.
- Blair Walsh missed a 48 yard field goal in the 1st quarter, leaving him 4 of 10 in the preseason. It’s getting harder and harder to remember when he was good. At this point, I’m starting to wonder what Ryan Longwell or Mason Crosby are doing. Hell – what’s Shaun Suisham doing?
- Marcus Sherels muffed a punt return… Paul Allen and Rick Spielman went out of their way to explain it away (with Paul being especially generous with various reasons it might have happened). Paul – I’m with you, man. We’ve seen a lot of good punt returns from Sherels so we’ll just chalk this up to “Who cares it’s game 4 in the preseason, moving on”.
- Cordarrelle Patterson. In the first half, he was out on the field and talk about low-effort…! I do not know what kind of problem this kid has but if I were Zimmer, I wouldn’t pay him to enable it. I’m quickly arriving at the conclusion that he should be benched and/or cut.
- I still don’t understand what is happening with Audie Cole. On the unofficial depth chart, he’s still listed as the 1st string MLB. However, his playing time has been weird. So – the question is, are they evaluating who to put in the 2nd string spot, saving Audie for the regular season, or is Audie being replaced? Having some indication from the coaching staff would be nice. Spielman said it was a matter of “knowing what we have in that player”… but I’ve never trusted Spielman, so I’m going to take whatever he says with a grain of salt.
And this brings the 2015 preseason to an end, my Vikings friends. Based on what you saw in the 5 preseason games to date, what do you predict the Vikings’ regular season record will be? Select an option in the poll below or leave a comment. As always, thanks for reading. When we meet again, the game will matter. Let’s hope our team is up to the challenge!