3 Losers from Vikings 2nd Preseason Game

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings also lost their second preseason contest. They have not won one since 2019. Regardless, that is not important at all as the regular season kicks off with all teams having a zero in the win column.

Much more important than the result is the evaluation of the players. Some of them had nice games like tight end Nick Muse and special teams ace NaJee Thompson but others made plays that didn’t help their status going forward. This article was created to name specific players but three whole position groups had a true disasterclass.

3 Losers from Vikings 2nd Preseason Game

Backup Offensive Line

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) looks for a receiver at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023.

The five starters (Christian Darrisaw, Ezra Cleveland, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, and Brian O’Neill) didn’t play in the exhibition. Ingram was the only starter that played last week, and he fired up a controversial performance. This time, it was exclusively the backups on the field with the starting group from left to right: Vederian Lowe, Alan Ali, Austin Schlottmann, Blake Brandel, Oli Udoh.

They struggled to keep quarterback Nick Mullens clean and couldn’t open holes for Ty Chandler who exited the game at halftime with a stat line of 11 carries for 24 yards. In addition to those struggles, the line was responsible for multiple penalties, especially Brandel and Udoh, the two top backups on the line, stood out in that regard. Udoh has always been prone to draw penalties and somehow can’t fix the issue.

The performance of the two primary backups for four positions was so bad that the Vikings should actively try to acquire some new linemen to at least compete with them.

Backup Wide Receivers

Minnesota Vikings tight end Nick Muse (34) gets around Tennessee Titans safety Mike Brown (44) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023.

This group had a huge opportunity and massively blew it. Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn were on the sidelines for safety reasons, while rookie Jordan Addison missed the game in concussion protocol after flashing his potential in last week’s contest. Jalen Nailor is still recovering from an injury. With the projected top four receivers absent, their backups had a chance to shine but they failed to do so.

Trishton Jackson and Blake Proehl had some mind-boggling drops while Thayer Thomas, Jalen Reagor, and Brandon Powell were barely targeted. N’Keal Harry didn’t suit up. All of them shined in training camp and Reagor had a solid outing in Seattle but none of them could position themselves as the clear fifth wideout. Tight end Nick Muse stole their spotlight.

Defensive Line

Tennessee Titans running back Julius Chestnut (36) is brought down by Vikings defenders at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023.

Like on every position, the best players didn’t play. Harrison Phillips, Dean Lowry, and Khyiris Tonga were nowhere to be seen and will probably not see the field until the season opener arrives.

In their absence, the Tennessee Titans had a field day rushing the football for 281 yards. Julius Chestnut ran for 98 of them, quarterback Malik Willis for 95, and Tajae Spears added 57, including a 33-yard score. All of them had an average of 7.5 yards per run or higher.

The outside linebackers and defensive ends failed to set the edges multiple times, and the defensive tackles were just moved out of the way and couldn’t hold their gaps.

One thing that should be noted is that the Titans started their first-team offensive line and played them for the whole first half. However, if the Vikings were to miss a few guys, they would also go up against the top offensive lines and Brian Flores can’t accept that kind of struggle and the backup line bullied the Vikings just as much as the starters.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt