12 Snap Reactions after Vikings Final Preseason Game

Inflicted the Most
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After each Minnesota Vikings game, we offer snap reactions, a precursor to the week’s coverage of the game to follow.

This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit ‘random,’ and hopefully insightful.

12 Snap Reactions after Vikings Final Preseason Game

The Vikings finished the preseason in 2023 with a loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, 18-17, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

after Vikings Final
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1 – Brian Flores finally unpacked a few of his famous blitz packages, allowing his defenders to pursue Cardinals quarterbacks more freely than the previous two preseason showdowns. And because the Vikings rarely blitzed in 2022 under Ed Donatell, the strategy was a welcome change of pace. In two weeks, fans will see how it all clicks with starters, not just reservist and roster bubble players.

2 – Working with the second-teamers — not just third-stringers who will be released next week did wonders for QB3 Jaren Hall. The rookie passer didn’t look overly impressive against Arizona and Tennessee, but with a second-team offensive line, Hall looked quite promising. He still has years to go before trustworthiness with an NFL offense, but fans should be excited about his trajectory. He played the entire game.

3 – Jalen Reagor caught a couple more passes versus the Cardinals, continuing a noteworthy training camp and preseason. Of course, his presence on the field in the third preseason game most of those men don’t make the team was a little spooky, but Reagor has played worthy of a roster spot in 2023. He also epitomizes the Vikings current roster bubble situation.

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4 – Jay Ward fired up this nifty sack and forced fumble, so you can safely start the hype train on him.

He was all over the field on Saturday.

5 – Andrew Booth played, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, as weird as that sounds. A 2nd-Rounder from last year’s draft, Booth should be one of the dudes on the bench at this point in the summer, waiting for the regular season. But he needs all the work he can get, and he’s evidently a third-team corner.

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6 – The aforementioned Reagor played; Brandon Powell did not. And Powell is not hobbled by injury. That might imply Powell is safe as the WR5, while Reagor prays the club keeps six.

7 – Greg Joseph capped a near-perfect preseason, a feat most NFL team’s fans’ would shrug shoulders and say, “Yeah, what did you expect?” But Joseph struggled mightily in 2022 with extra points and “ordinary” field goals that weren’t game-winners. After three games, Joseph has exorcised some demons, at least for a while. He did, however, badly miss a would-be game-winning 54-yarder. It almost looked like a mishit. All told, Joseph was 10 for 11 in August.

8 – Thayer Thomas has now flubbed two punt returns, leaving it safe to say he probably won’t be the punt returner in 2023. He likely wasn’t going to win the job in the first place, but now he really won’t.

9 – Abraham Beauplan, a backup linebacker most Vikings faithful believe is a roster-cut candidate, didn’t play on Saturday. He didn’t appear to have an injury this week, so keep an eye on him when the 53-man roster hits on Tuesday. Many folks’ roster projections will have been wrong if he makes the team. Including those from VikingsTerritory.

10 – Former Vikings linebacker and current radio personality Pete Bercich gushed over EDGE rusher Benton Whitley all game. That will probably mean nothing, but Bercich seems to think Whitley can make the active roster. A practice squad forecast is more likely.

11 – Ex-Vikings defender Zach McCloud killed his old team, albeit in an exhibition bout. McCloud tabulated 3 sacks and 3 tackles for loss, making his case for the Cardinals regular season roster.

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12 – The Vikings have lost 10 straight preseason games, dating back to 2019. What a weird circumstance. Perhaps now that Kevin O’Connell now knows about the naughty streak, the team will win one or two next summer. Paul Allen hinted that O’Connell recently learned of the losing streak.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.