7 Takeaways from Vikings Preseason Game at SEA

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings kicked off their 2023 preseason with a game in Seattle, facing the Seahawks and head coach Pete Carroll who was on Bud Grant’s coaching staff with the Vikings. Baker Mayfield and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the regular season with a trip to Minnesota on September 10th.

7 Takeaways from Vikings Preseason Game at SEA

The Vikings fell short of winning their first preseason game in 2023, but some observations are much more important than the result.

1. Watch Out for Ty Chandler

7 Takeaways from
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Mattison took over the starting running back role from Dalvin Cook and expectedly didn’t play during the preseason. Behind him, the Vikings have a bunch of running backs competing for snaps and jobs. Ty Chandler started as RB and looked just as incredible as he did in the 2022 preseason.

He was heavily featured in both the passing game and as a ball carrier. Starting quarterback Nick Mullens looked in his direction on a regular basis, throwing him the ball four times for 29 yards in the first quarter. He added a total of 41 yards rushing on 11 carries. Regardless of the average-looking numbers, he looked much better than that.

Chandler sure appears to be the frontrunner for the job as Mattison’s top backup. He has certainly earned some carries in the regular season, especially because he seemed much more explosive than rookie DeWayne McBride.

2. Jordan Addison Keeps Momentum Going

Playing three drives, first-round rookie Jordan Addison didn’t get too much run but played well in his limited action. Addison was targeted four times, twice without a real chance to make a play.

He produced an unbelievable sideline toe-drag catch that was ruled incomplete but perhaps would’ve been overruled in a regular season matchup through a Kevin O’Connell challenge. Addison later caught a 22-yard pass from Mullens that was underthrown. Had it not been, a larger gain was possible. Having a strong training camp, Addison has been the real deal so far.

3. Penalties Must Be Addressed

Flags can ruin drives and games, and the Vikings must clean up drawing flags on seemingly every other play. Of course, many of the flagged players will not be on the field much in the upcoming season, but it absolutely has to be a point of emphasis in the next few weeks leading up to the season opener.

While no team will ever play an immaculate game, having a holding or a false start called on multiple occasions is unacceptable.

4. Nick Mullens Is a Good Backup

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Mullens is one of the more experienced backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Whenever Jimmy Garappolo missed time, it became the Mullens show in San Francisco. The veteran is a true gunslinger, and his career stat line of 27 TDs and 23 INTs proves it.

While Sean Mannion struggled in previous years, Mullens played fantastic, staying calm under pressure, making solid reads, and showing accuracy. His touchdown pass in the second quarter to tight end Nick Muse was a dime. The overall numbers were 14/20 for 139 yards, one touchdown without a turnover.

Rookie Jaren Hall flashed his potential (and athleticism) a few times, but he is not a danger at this time to replace Mullens as the primary backup.

5. Brian Flores Brings the Heat

The new defensive coordinator didn’t wait long to unleash some nasty blitzes. Most teams play vanilla defenses in the preseason without showing much creativity, but Flores doesn’t care about that.

There were plenty of reps with five or more defenders rushing the passer, and his undrafted rookie Ivan Pace played a significant role in it. The pass-rush specialist from the interior linebacker position showed why he has been praised in training camp. With the two starters Brian Asamoah and Jordan Hicks out, he was the top linebacker on the field.

6. Lewis Cine Is a Mixed Bag

As a first-round pick in 2022, the expectations were sky-high for the young safety from the national champions, Georgia. Missing most of his debut season because of an injury, Cine is now fully healthy.

Lewis Cine Pitched a Shutout vs. Lions. And Not in a Good Way.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

His preseason game was a mixed bag, he made some excellent tackles but also missed a couple, and he made some fast reads but also some slow ones. Overall, it is encouraging to see him flying around on the field, but he has ways to go to actually receive significant playing time in the regular season.

7. Cornerback Hierarchy Is Obvious

Byron Murphy is the top guy in the room, and the Vikings held their pricey free agent signing out. Akayleb Evans and Mekhi Blackmon are clearly the next two players at the position, followed by backups Joejuan Williams and Andrew Booth. The latter struggled badly.

Blackmon and Evans both looked fine, especially the rookie Blackmon made a couple of excellent plays. He allowed a receiving touchdown on a great pass by Drew Lock but was in tight coverage. Murphy and Blackmon have the flexibility to play in the slot and outside, allowing Flores to play matchup-specific defenses.

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