4 Takeaways from the Vikings Final Preseason Game
The Minnesota Vikings capped a winless preseason against the Denver Broncos on Saturday night, losing 23-13 at Empower Field at Mile High.
Thankfully for the franchise and first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, wins and losses in the preseason mean absolutely zilch, so the panic button remains unpressed.
Still, these are four takeaways from the Vikings-Broncos showdown.
1. Luiji Vilain Makes a Case for the Regular Season Roster
Straddling the Vikings 53-man roster bubble, Luiji Vilain prosecuted a case to play in September. The Wake Forest alumnus logged two tackles and came down with an interception off a tipped ball. He was opportunistic.
Vilain indeed is probably a longshot to stay on the active roster next week, but he showed hints of why some folks hyped him in the last eight months. Minnesota doesn’t have oodles of shoo-ins to make the depth chart as backup pass rushers, so Vilain needed to “do something” this weekend.
And he did.
2. Punter Ryan Wright Tames Fans’ Fear
Look for yourself.
Because kicker Greg Joseph allegedly — with no real evidence — had a good relationship with ex-punter Jordan Berry as his holder, Vikings fans worried the new punter, Wright, would bungle things.
And then, for good measure, he boomed his punts at Denver. Wright punted four times, pinning the Broncos back 225 yards. That’s a 56.3 yards-per-punt average.
Needless to say, if only for a night, fans aren’t lamenting Berry’s release anymore.
3. Injury Bug Buzzes
Out of the gate, a handful of Vikings were injured in the 1st Quarter. Brian Asamoah, Josh Metellus, T.Y. McGill, Bisi Johnson, and Troy Dye were all dinged, making the night feel like an ill-fated, infirmary-riddled affair.
Asamoah returned soon after, while McGill took the rest of the game off. Injury statuses will be updated in the next couple of days, but the early part of the Vikings-Broncos game was tumultuous.
Bisi Johnson was also hurt and did not return.
4. Greg Joseph Delivers the Top Moment of the Preseason
Greg Joseph has drilled kicks north of 55 yards all summer. But the “problem” was that they occurred in practice.
Finally, in Denver’s thin air, Joesph unshackled the boot in a regular season simulation, connecting from 58 yards away.
Vikings fans are taken home from the hospitals as babies fearing the worst from kickers, but against the Broncos, Joseph displayed the leg strength of a wild horse. Call it a bronco.
Minnesota might have found a trustworthy kicker for the first time since Ryan Longwell.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).