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Depth on Display as Vikings Beat Rams 27-25

A tumultuous week comes to a satisfying close, as the Minnesota Vikings finished the preseason 4-0 after beating the St. Louis Rams 27 to 25. Their final win of the offseason comes just days after losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the year to a dislocated knee and torn ACL.

Buoyed by a strong defensive effort and highlight plays from two running backs — likely the formula for regular season success — the Vikings overcame a sloppy start and underwhelming finish to win their second-straight game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Third-string quarterback Joel Stave opened the game for the Vikings, as starter-to-be Shaun Hill watched from the sidelines. Before kickoff, general manager Rick Spielman spoke to local media, emphasizing his confidence in Hill moving forward.

“I don’t think any of our coaches or staff in the building believe that Shaun can’t get us where we want to go, and our expectations are the same,” Spielman said, per However, Spielman didn’t shelve the idea of adding another quarterback by Monday. “But we will look, just like we have every preseason, at every position when the waiver wire comes,” he added.

With the punishment Stave took tonight, it’s clear the Vikings will need extra help at the position. According to Andrew Krammer, Stave was sacked twice and hit seven times on 20 total dropbacks. He was rather ineffective, completing 9-of-18 passes for 76 yards before leaving the game with a reported hand injury.

Minnesota’s first three scores came as the result of turnovers. The first, a punt team fumble recovery by presumed Mr. Mankato, Jayron Kearse, set the Vikings up deep in Chargers territory, where Blair Walsh connected on a 30-yard field goal. On the next Rams possession rookie quarterback Jared Goff botched an under-center exchange. Stephen Weatherly located the ball, flipping field position and setting up Walsh for a 34-yard field goal.

Walsh’s successful conversion brought the Vikings within one, making the score 7-6 with 55 seconds left in the first half. On the very next possession, Mike Zimmer’s defense showed up again, with Toby Johnson turning a Justin Trattou deflection into a highlight-worthy interception.

Brad Sorenson, who was cut by the Vikings on Tuesday and re-signed the next day, replaced Stave and immediately flipped the turnover into a touchdown. He found Jhurell Pressley in the flat for a 28-yard touchdown, putting the Vikings up 13-7 at halftime.

Pressley continued to shine for the Vikings, returning a third quarter kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown. He may not make the 53-man roster, but Pressley’s Thursday night game thrust him into the conversation as a practice squad player. Not to be outdone, C.J. Ham rushed 15 times for 59 yards, capping his night off with a one-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the score 27-10.

The Rams made a furious comeback late in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to pull within two of the Vikings. Zimmer’s defense ended the game with a sack, as Zach Moore took Rams quarterback Sean Mannion down as time expired.

Tonight’s win marks a bittersweet end to the preseason for Minnesota. A perfect record is always a plus, but now, the Vikings must prepare for the regular season without their star quarterback. When asked after the game who would lead the team with Bridgewater out, Zimmer didn’t hesitate to answer.

[quote_center]”I’m gonna lead them…that’s why they hired me.”[/quote_center]
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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. Bold prediction time

    The Vikings pick up Christian Ponder who was cut by the 49’ers

    Fast forward to Feb. 5th, 2017. Super Bowl in Houston. Vikings vs Jaguars

    Ponder hands off to Zach Line for a one yard touchdown run to tie the game with no time left on the clock

    Jeff”MetaIUniversalPeace” Dugan drop kicks the game winning extra point through the uprights

    Dugan is handed the MVP trophy by Roger Goodell and Maria Carey.
    Maria Carey proposes marriage to Dugan on live TV being watched by 3 billion people
    Dugan turns her down, then walks over to the Jaguars 3rd string QB, Colin Kaepernick, and hits him square in the nuts with the MVP Trophy thus exterminating his ability to procreate

    1. Second Bold Prediction

      Fran the Man, flush with cash from his Super Bowl winning bet on the Vikings
      …. splurges on a $5 gift card from Super Cuts and gives it to Brett Anderson
      Brett spends all of it (including tip) and finally gets a decent hair cut

      1. What the hell? It shows 150 ‘Likes’. How is that possible? Seriously, it shows 150 likes. People Like me!!!

      2. Ole, Super Cuts is the problem! I need somewhere a little nicer that I could trust with my very delicate hair situation. I’m talking like $20-a-cut type place. That is really my only hope.

  2. Bring back the T-formation and the Power-I! Keep Pressley and Ham on the final roster for six running backs. Make up the roster spots by releasing Johnson, Wright or Patterson! Three yards and a cloud of dust, baby!!

  3. I predict that the Vikings will give Tim Tebow a tryout. Tim becomes the #1 Viking QB and leads the Vikings who will win the Super Bowl!