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.
5. Those Clemson Guys Could Be Fun
Jayron Kearse is almost comically tall in the back end of the secondary, but that height sure put him at a nice advantage when he came down with the jump ball interception to end the game. Just looking at Kearse, if he can put some other things together, his size would make him a considerable weapon in the defensive secondary. Mackensie Alexander, Kearse’s teammate at Clemson, was the other Vikings rookie that snagged an interception in his NFL debut. Both had mixed performances, a theme that applies to nearly every player that played, but they also showed enough to suspect they’re going to be a part of a Vikings future that is starting to appear even a little brighter.
4. Tre Roberson Won’t Go Away
Cornerback Tre Roberson earned plenty of praise in Mankato after his seemingly successful transition from college quarterback to NFL cornerback. The competent coverage didn’t stop when Roberson departed from Minnesota, however, and he continued to shine on Friday night in Cincinnati. He’s playing against other third-stringers at this point, setting him up for more opportunities at batted passes, but despite that I thought Roberson looked superior to Jabari Price in just about every way.
3. Cordarrelle Patterson M.I.A.
The Minnesota Vikings did not list Cordarrelle Patterson as a pregame inactive, but he still didn’t play. Theories are flying regarding why Patterson was dressed for Friday’s game, but didn’t get in on a single snap. Crazy conspiracies are fun, but the most likely answer is that his shoulder is bothering him and everyone involved would like to exercise caution. Still, it isn’t ideal that Patterson is missing out on preseason playing time, as he could certainly use it.
2. The Starting O-Line Needs To Play Better
Is that an obvious understatement, or what? The offensive line looked scarily similar to what Minnesota fielded in 2015 despite the additions of Alex Boone and Andre Smith, both of whom produced some dubious film for themselves last night. Bridgewater needs to be a quicker decision maker, but two of his best plays also came when blocking broke down and he had to deal with it. It’d be lovely if we could get decent blocking and Teddy’s skill set firing on all cylinders before this team heads to Tennessee.
1. David Morgan Is Clearly Better Than Brian Leonhardt
From my seat in Paul Brown Stadium, I mistakenly assigned partial blame for the punt return touchdown to a whiff by David Morgan… so, upon reviewing the game on a screen, I was pleased to see the truth there only reaffirmed, to me, that Morgan is far superior to Brian Leonhardt. Morgan’s blocking was noticeable in quality, he caught all three of targets thrown to him, he showed some fun skills on his 22 yard rumble, and it should be safe to say that he’ll beat out fellow tight end Brian Leonhardt for a spot on the tight end depth chart. The next point of interest will be to see how the Vikings handle Morgan upon Rhett Ellison’s return from injury.