Preseason Week 1: That’s Pro Ball, Baby

Another late summer arrives, and so does Minnesota Vikings football. The home team starts their campaign with a whimper, losing to the Seattle Seahawks, 24-13. This was a pretty competitive contest up to about halfway through the third quarter, where the wheels fell off and never reattached to the wagon. Even though it’s a new season, I’m not gonna shake up the format of these reports. Why tinker with something that runs just fine?

Up for the first analysis of the year is the offense, which was really a mixed bag. Ty Chandler impressed me a lot, efficiently picking up 70 total scrimmage yards. Nick Mullens played solidly throughout the game, which easily makes him one of the best backups the Vikings have had at quarterback all decade. Nick Muse had a nice touchdown grab in the second quarter, climbing the ladder to give Minnesota the largest lead they’d get. Jalen Reagor had a really nice game, and N’Keal Harry and Jordan Addison managed to make a few flashy plays. One of my favorite players from the XFL last season, Abram Smith, showed a few flashes, but couldn’t do much for one massive, obvious reason. Jaren Hall, our rookie QB out of BYU, was also held back by it. We have maybe the worst depth offensive line in football. If you get frustrated with the starters, please avert your eyes from any offensive possession this preseason. Multiple times, Smith was met by at least two Seahawks, in the backfield, COMPLETELY untouched. This would be a different story if they were all rookies. They weren’t. At most, the offensive line played one, singular rookie. Not a big deal obviously, this is all preseason semantics, but it’s definitely disheartening to not see a single strong performance from that unit.

Next is the defense, and it’s almost the perfect reversal from the offense. The defensive line had a really nice game, and created a lot of pressure for Drew Lock and Colton Ahlers, although they only had one sack to show for it from Luiji Vilain. Everything else, outside of a Jaylin Williams interception and a diving pass breakup from Joejuan Williams, was pretty lacking. There were a considerable amount of miscommunications/mishandlings that resulted in at least a first down for Seattle, but that’s a given for a very fresh group of second stringers. For a preseason match, I didn’t see anything that would cause legitimate concern.

Finally, it’s the specialists’ turn. Sadly, the year turning over means there’s no longer a ROTY Wright section. BUT, that doesn’t mean I can’t still talk about him. He had a perfectly solid game, averaging 45 yards per punt. Greg Joseph also had a great game, hitting all three kicks (two field goals, one extra point), one being from 54 yards out. Now time for the less-than-stellar moments. There was a pretty ugly muffed punt that gave Seattle the ball inside our redzone, but it was by an undrafted free agent, so I’m not gonna get up in arms (if you get up in arms about anything in preseason, PLEASE find a new hobby/interest) about it. Someone I was a little disappointed by overall was DeWayne McBride. He wasn’t terrible, he just didn’t really try to make anyone miss. If your only downside is that you weren’t putting the moves on, though, I’d call that a solid game. Overall, despite the loss, it was great to see our squad back on the field in any capacity. Next matchup is at U.S. Bank Stadium, where Minnesota will face off against the Tennessee Titans. See you next weekend, Vikings fans.

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