For the second straight week, the Minnesota Vikings exited a preseason game with a win and, more importantly, no significant injuries.
Kirk Cousins led the offense for two drives this time around -- one that ended in a punt and another seven-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in three points. Cousins completed six of eight pass attempts for 68 yards, his longest throw going for 34 yards on a connection with, you guessed it, Adam Thielen.
Position battles have officially heated up, specifically on special teams. Dan Bailey nailed a 24-yard field goal and went 1-for-1 on extra points, while newcomer Kaare Vedvik converted on his lone extra-point attempt as a placekicker and punted three times for an average of 46.7 yards. Matt Wile placed a punt inside the 15-yard line on his lone attempt of the day.
Elsewhere, the backup quarterback and third-string running back competitions look more and more intriguing with two preseason games to play.
More on that below.
Here’s a recap of Sunday night’s game (Story | Photos):
PLAYER OF THE GAME
For those of you who thought the backup quarterback position was all set behind Cousins, you might be in for a rude awakening. Kyle Sloter, who was named our game MVP last week, took another step Sunday night. He led all quarterbacks with 116 yards on 11-of-13 passing and delivered a four-yard strike to wideout Brandon Zylstra for a touchdown, giving the Vikings the lead for good in the third quarter. Sean Mannion wasn’t too shabby either, throwing for 88 yards on 11-of-14 passing, but the veteran tossed a costly pick-six in the red zone that gave Seattle a 10-3 lead. Sloter is making a big push for that backup gig and could win it with strong follow-up performances the next two weeks.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
The offensive line is often blamed for Minnesota’s unspectacular 8-7-1 record last season. Cousins was constantly running for his life, and the rushing attack ranked 30th in the league. But so far in the preseason, it looks like the new additions are making a difference. Besides an early fumble on a snap exchange between Cousins and rookie center Garrett Bradbury, the offensive line’s play was strong, as it didn’t allow a single sack for the second straight week. This stat was helped by Minnesota’s reliance on shifting the pocket by running a significant number of bootlegs, but still -- it's a good sign for the guys in the trenches.
Once again, running back Mike Boone was responsible for the Vikings’ longest play of the night. Boone, who broke out for a 64-yard touchdown run last week, caught a pass from Mannion and raced up the field for a 45-yard gain in the second quarter, setting up the Vikings’ first touchdown of the night. Boone finished with a game-high 66 rushing yards on 21 attempts and is really pushing Ameer Abdullah for that third-string running back role.
Brad RempelBrad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
19 -- Mike Zimmer is now 19-4 in preseason games since taking over the head coaching position in 2014. Insane. At this point, it’s really the only preseason stat that matters.
THEY SAID IT
“We're trying to get Treadwell the ball a little bit more in the second half. Try to showcase him a little bit, I guess. He made some nice plays.” -- head coach Mike Zimmer
“I honestly thought it was a really positive night. It's a small sample size. It's preseason. You don't try to read too much into it. But I came away feeling good about the first two drives, also really the rest of the offense the rest of the way.” -- quarterback Kirk Cousins
“I am from New Orleans so it’s just like a fun dance that we do out there. I just try to bring a little style and fun to the field.” – tight end Irv Smith Jr. on his touchdown celebration
“I thought he did well. He kicked the ball deep. Had the one extra point or field goal, I don't remember what it was. Then he punted okay. We'll just keep looking at him, see where we're at from there. We won't make a decision today.” -- Zimmer on Kaare Vedvik’s performance
Minnesota will stick around in Minneapolis and host the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft, has struggled through two preseason games, throwing for just 56 yards on 9-of-15 passing with no touchdowns or interceptions.