The Minnesota Vikings put on the purple and gold for the first time in 2017 and beat the Buffalo Bills 17-10 in Week 1 of the preseason. It wasn’t always pretty, but the defense held its own for the most part and confirmed (as if we already didn’t know) that it will be the featured unit on this team.
The biggest question marks surrounding the Vikings are on offense: can it provide a substantial run attack and can the offensive line protect quarterback Sam Bradford? Unfortunately, those inquiries remain to be answered. Rookie running back Dalvin Cook, arguably the most intriguing part of the Vikings offense this season, was held to 13 yards on five carries, and as a team the Vikes rushed for 90 yards.
Bradford and most of the starters played for three series, netting 13 plays for 24 yards and three punts. It was a mostly uninspiring effort, although Cook showed a glimpse of his ability to catch the ball. He recorded four receptions for 30 yards and was even split out wide for a play.
Associated PressRich Barnes
Player of the Game
Case Keenum completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 121 yards, including a 38-yard connection with rookie receiver Stacey Coley in the second quarter. He stood out on third downs, as well. Facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Bills 26-yard line, Keenum scampered to his right and threw a strike to Coley on the sideline. Coley caught the ball at the 2-yard line before rolling out of bounds, and the Vikings scored on the next play. Earlier in the game, Keenum scrambled for seven yards on a 3rd-and-3 situation, extending a drive that ended in a Kai Forbath 36-yard field goal.
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Don’t forget about me
Rookie Ben Gedeon tied for the team lead in tackles, with six total. He had five at linebacker (one assisted tackle) and tacked on another on special teams. If Gedeon keeps playing like this, it’s possible he could be starting by Week 1.
With the Bills facing a 2nd-and-20 from their own 26-yard line, Everson Griffen man-handled former Cretin-Derham Hall left tackle Seantrel Henderson and sacked quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Man, did we miss watching Griffen play football. His “sack daddy” dance left a little to be desired, though. Good thing Griffen has another three weeks of the preseason to get that ready for national TV.
3. The Vikings offensive line allowed three sacks on the day – including two when Bradford was in the game, which is concerning. But starting left tackle Riley Reiff, who signed a five-year deal with the Vikings in the offseason, didn’t play. Reiff will hopefully provide optimism and security for Bradford when he’s back in next week.
They Said It
“Fine.” That’s all Zimmer had to say about Keenum’s performance against Buffalo. Zimmer also went on to say that his expectations are higher than what he saw Thursday. Fair enough.
“It’s been tremendous throughout camp … I think he’s going to be a valuable asset.” -- Bradford on Cook’s ability in the pass game.
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Minnesota travels to Seattle on Friday, Aug. 18 for a Week 2 preseason matchup against the Seahawks.