The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Buffalo Bills 17-10 in their 2017 preseason opener. Here are 10 players who were the most noticeable – either for good or bad reasons:
RB, Dalvin Cook
The Vikings’ second-round pick rushed five times for 13 yards and caught four passes for 30 yards. While there were no explosive plays – Cook’s longest run was six yards and reception was nine – he was patient on several runs and caught everything thrown his way. The former Florida St. back did miss a chance to chip block edge rusher Jerry Hughes, who beat Rashod Hill for a sack. Cook’s preseason debut wasn’t one for the ages (if that’s even possible), but he looked the part.
DE, Everson Griffen
It should come as no surprise that Griffen would stand out, but he looked up to full speed when dominating Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson. Griffen plowed his blocker back into Tyrod Taylor for a sack, then later in the first half his rush forced Taylor to escape the pocket.
DE, Tashawn Bower
An undrafted free agent, Bower picked up a sack late in the first half, taking down veteran QB TJ Yates, then opened up the second half with a pressure.The former LSU defensive end has impressed in training camp, routinely getting after the Vikings’ two backup quarterbacks. He has good length and quickness that make him an interesting prospect.
WR, Stacy Coley
The Vikings’ seventh-round pick put together a strong debut, catching 3 passes for 67 yards, including an excellent 38-yard reception that put Minnesota in position to score. He showed speed and explosiveness after the catch on another reception and had a solid punt return.
QB, Case Keenum
During camp, neither Keenum or Taylor Heinicke stuck out as the leader for the backup quarterback job, but the former Texan and Ram had a strong preseason debut, going 11-for-16 with 121 yards, including an impressive 38-yard pass to Stacy Coley that set up a touchdown.
C, Pat Elflein
The Vikings’ third-round pick saw a ton of playing time on Thursday night and performed well. His most noticeable play came on a 14-yard run where he dominated the defensive tackle to spring Bishop Sankey. Elflein also got significant push on the Vikings’ rushing touchdown at the goal line. He did have one poor snap out of the shotgun.
WR, Rodney Adams
It was an up-and-down evening for Adams. He fumbled a punt and called for fair catch inside the 10-yard line on a punt, but he also had a nice run on a reverse and scored a touchdown in the third quarter.
T, Mike Remmers
After a disasterous year at tackle, the Vikings are looking to Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to fix their offensive line woes. At least in the three series’ that the first played (Reiff was out), the offensive line did not look strong, giving up two sacks. One of those sacks was allowed by Remmers, who was burned by an undrafted rookie out of Wyoming.
WR, Isaac Fruechte
After an inconsistent camp, the former Gopher is looking to put his name in the mix for a depth wide receiver spot, but his preseason did not get off to a strong start. There were at least two passes that he could have brought in but let slip through his hands.
QB, Taylor Heinicke
The former Old Dominion quarterback tossed a touchdown pass, but he had a rough debut. On the touchdown drive, Heinicke threw a pass into triple coverage that was nearly intercepted. Cameras caught Mike Zimmer looking very unhappy following the play. On the following drive, Heinicke tossed an interception while on the run.