4 Takeaways from Vikings Preseason Game #2

The overreaction crowd certainly won’t subside after the Minnesota Vikings second preseason game.

The Indianapolis Colts edged the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium 12-10 on Saturday night, dropping Minnesota’s preseason record to 0-2. Announcers on Twin Cities television noted on a few occasions that it marked the first time in the Mike Zimmer era that the Vikings have lost consecutive preseason games.

Here are the four notable takeaways from the Vikings second preseason game.

Lackluster Offense

Versus the Broncos, the entire Vikings enterprise looked iffy because 30 players did not participate.

In this game, the offense was arguably worse than last weekend. The Vikings netted 227 yards on offense, zero redzone trips, punted eight times, and were dominated via time of possession. Thankfully, preseason play is usually not indicative of regular-season production — the 0-16 Detroit Lions from 2009 and 2017 Cleveland Browns can attest — because there was no consistency on offense. There wasn’t much of anything, in fact.

Kirk Cousins started the game, mostly dumping the ball off short to running backs and keeping the gameplan vanilla. Adam Thielen was hurt on the first drive — but it was nothing serious. Dalvin Cook did not play. Neither did Justin Jefferson. There were more starters on display Saturday night than last week, but the offensive product was all the same — lackluster.

So far, Minnesota has not scored an offensive touchdown this preseason.

Defense Looked Better

How did the Vikings reach 10 points with no offensive firepower? A Troy Dye pick-six.

This was the big highlight of the game. Dye — who aspires to see playing time in 2021 in relief of Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, and Nick Vigil — put his thumbprint on the Vikings preseason. And Indianapolis failed to march up and down the field as Denver did one week ago.

Led by Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason, the Colts tallied just 288 yards of offense. More of the Vikings starting personnel saw action against the Colts than versus the Broncos. It paid off. Very little can be gleaned from a long-term perspective battling Ehlinger and Eason, but at least the Vikings defense did its job.

Too, Bashaud Breeland is quietly sneaking up on CB1 or CB2 duties. He’s a Super Bowl champion from his Kansas City days, seeking to be a full-time starter with the Vikings. Saturday helped his cause.

Yikes on Mond

Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond authored a good week at practice — just as Jake Browning stock for QB2 was fading. Browning orchestrated one pretty decent night at the Vikings night scrimmage a few weeks ago at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. But since then, Browning cooled off.

That opened the door for the maybe-heir-apparent to Kirk Cousins, Mond, to usurp the QB2 job.

The Colts game was not a good case for it. Mond struggled to make simple plays. With the game on the line, the Vikings offense floundered — again — and Mond missed on a basic completion to Whop Philyor.

Mond has oodles of time to watch and develop, and he’ll need it. Unless he is purposely holding back in the preseason — severely unlikely  — the 2021 Vikings would be a flimsy product with Mond at the helm. Put bluntly, he ain’t ready.

Britton Colquitt Strikes Back

What’s the best antidote for a punter on the hot seat? A terrible performance by the offense.

Colquitt had a rough outing against the Broncos — Zimmer called him out publicly for it — so he responded by punting the ball eight damn times versus Indianapolis. His average for the evening was 46.1 yards per punt, pinning three of them inside the Colts 20-yardline.

The Vikings needed a “big” night from their punter. They got it. Colquitt is a professional, spending 11 seasons in the NFL to date. His tenure in the business is this long for a reason — he knows how to rebound from a woeful game.

He did just that. Barring another setback next week at Kansas City, Colquitt should be safe on the Vikings 2021 roster.