Friday, August 18, 2017

by -
5
Balanced Vikings Edge Bengals
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The casual fan will tell you that preseason football doesn’t matter. A head coach will say it’s a critical juncture in the formation of a 53-man roster. The third-string running back will say it’s his time to prove he belongs in the NFL.

Opinions may vary among different audiences, but one fact holds true; the preseason marks the start of professional football, and with that, a chance to analyze the Minnesota Vikings for the first time since January 2016.

Minnesota’s humble 17-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Friday left much to be desired. Head coach Mike Zimmer won’t be happy with his team’s sloppy play, especially that of the first-team offense and defense. Still, there are signs of a contender in-the-making, with pieces in place at every level to enjoy another strong season in 2016.

After each win — and unfortunately, each loss — I’ll break down key aspects of the game that led to a victory or Sunday defeat. This morning, I’ll dive into the Vikings’ film against the Bengals, which reveals Minnesota’s slow growth up to this point of the offseason.

by -
10
two new starters
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With one preseason game in the books, the Vikings are doing some shuffling atop of the depth chart.

When the team returned to practice Sunday, there were two new faces in the starting lineup. Most notably, Andre Smith had been demoted to second team and T.J. Clemmings was practicing as the starting right tackle, according to numerous media outlets.

by -
22

At the onset of the 2015 season, reports emerged that human mascot “Ragnar” had priced himself out of employment with the Minnesota Vikings organization after he caused a stir by posting a picture of himself watching Minnesota’s first home game from his own house.

Those reports indicated that Ragnar was asking for a 10 year contract at $20,000 per game, which was a million and a half dollars (actually more) that the Vikings apparently were not willing to commit to.

The last time we heard from Ragnar was just prior to the Vikings January matchup with Green Bay where he was the focus of a silly televised skit that ended with him replacing his horns with a cheesehead.

Joseph Juranitch, the real life man behind the the Ragnar persona, was recently the subject of a Vikings Journal two part interview (Part One Link & Part Two Link) with Joe Johnson. What he says suggests that his demands were perhaps not as greedy as last year’s reports would have us believe, and that poor communication from Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren may be to blame for the way things played out in public.

by -
6
image courtesy of Tom Moore

It’s no real surprise that a triple-option quarterback from Georgia Southern has been overshadowed in his first two seasons in the NFL by future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Last season, Jerick McKinnon was limited to just 73 touches for the Minnesota Vikings as Peterson went on to win his third career rushing title while toting the rock a league leading 327 times. Peterson is ninth all-time in rushing touchdowns (97) and 17th all-time in rushing yards (11,675) and his quest to climb the NFL leader board could fleece more snaps away from McKinnon again this season.

It’s true McKinnon’s opportunities were slighted in 2015, yet the 5’9” 205 pound speedster was anything but lost in the shadows of an icon. A lack of playing time hasn’t stopped McKinnon from flashing his unbelievable athletic ability. For a smaller running back known for his breakaway speed, McKinnon has shown some surprising power as well. He is recognized as a freak in the weight room who can bench press twice his weight and squat three times his weight. His incredible work ethic is beginning to translating to the gridiron as he continues to develop strength as a pass blocker and improved power as a runner.

by -
10
First Preseason Game
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings came out of their first preseason game in Cincinnati as victors, but that isn’t a title that should go to their heads considering the exhibition game circumstances that included a late two-point conversion attempt that would almost certainly not happen in a real contest.

Regardless, Vikings football was played last night and we can gradually start to trade in our speculative statements for on-field facts.

Here are six quick thoughts about last night’s action against the Bengals:

6. Teddy Looks Pretty Good

Teddy Bridgewater’s deep bomb to Charles Johnson should not be discounted because of the preseason circumstances. He adjusted properly to significant pressure, stepped forward and reset his feet, kept his eyes down field, and hit Johnson in stride for the score. Between that play and the Geno Atkins stiff arm, Teddy impressed me last night, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that he showed enough to consider him an improved quarterback. We’ll be keeping a close eye on that front all year and for a more complete analysis of Bridgewater’s evening don’t miss Austin Belisle’s feature breaking down every snap he took.

Get Social

2,925FansLike
266Subscribers+1
10,154FollowersFollow