The Minnesota Vikings played their second preseason game on Saturday at US Bank Stadium. Here are the players who stood out — for good reasons or bad….
Following an outstanding preseason opener for the Vikings’ starting quarterback, Cousins was not as sharp against the Jaguars’ defense going 3-for-8 for just 12 yards. He appeared to be hesitant at times within the pocket, bouncing several passes. Cousins was also sacked once as the offense failed to effectively move the ball. What can we takeaway from Cousins’ struggles? Zero. Nothing. There may still be work to do, but we won’t know anything about how he operates the offense until Week 1.
Murray was also fantastic against the Denver Broncos and struggled mightily on Saturday afternoon. He fumbled twice and gained just 12 yards on six carries. We did not see Dalvin Cook against the Jaguars, opening up the possibility that his first look at game action will be next Friday against the Seattle Seahawks. Cook hasn’t appeared to have any setbacks during camp.
Surprisingly Collins started at right tackle over rookie Brian O’Neill. While Collins and the entire starting offensive line struggled at times, it may be a signal about where each player stands on the depth chart. O’Neill played very well against Denver but had ups and downs throughout joint practices with the Jags.
Danny Isidora remained at right guard while Tom Compton started at left guard. It appears Compton is in the lead to take over for Nick Easton when the season begins.
With Pat Elflein and Mike Remmers likely to return to work next week, we could have a much better idea of where the offensive line stands following next week’s game.
The kicking competition had been fairly close between Daniel Carlson and Kai Forbath until Saturday when Forbath doinked a 41-yard kick. While he made a 44-yarder, the fact that the Vikings drafted Carlson already had Forbath behind in the race. His miss against the Jags may solidify Carlson as the winner, but the rookie will still have to nail his kicks next week.
A strong punt return in the first quarter combined with Mike Hughes’ inability to create anything in the run game could give Sherels the edge to hold onto his job. Every year we go into camp wondering if Sherels will survive and he continually outperforms contenders. He also came in with the second team defense. Mike Zimmer appears to have trust in him in a pinch, which helps his chances even more to hold off young players like Holton Hill and Horace Richardson.
One of the few offensive highlights of the first half came from Boone, who had a tough night against Denver. The UDFA rushed four times for 36 yards in the first half and received snaps before Roc Thomas. Boone exploded for a 26-yard run in the third quarter and then pounded his way into the end zone for a touchdown.
Last week’s star Thomas did not get off to a great start, rushing one time for two yards and dropped a pass, but picked up a 15-yard rush and 16-yard catch in the third quarter.
After two games, the competition for RB3 is still very much up in the air.
Mike Hughes’ kick and punt returning has been sub par so far in the preseason but his play in the secondary has stood out. The Vikings’ first-round pick mixed in with the first-team defense as an outside corner early in the game and then he ran with the second team at the nickel position.
Mackensie Alexander left the game with an ankle injury early and Terence Newman came in to take his place.
As the Vikings look for players who can fill rotational roles, Weatherly has made a case for himself in both games. He picked up a half sack and created pressure on Blake Bortles.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 18, 2018
Lining up with the second team at three-technique, Johnson was disruptive and made plays against the Jags. To start the second half he was playing nose tackle. It appears more and more like he will be a swing player. If he can handle both spots, that may mean David Parry — a pure NT — will be out of a gig.
Good Jaleel Johnson stop. Aside from one error in goal line, Johnson has been having a good game pic.twitter.com/hQ1DVwMnVO
— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 18, 2018
The Vikings UDFA receiver didn’t get into the game until the second half last week, but worked in with the second team and Trevor Siemian this week. He was targeted once on a poor throw. Simply the fact that he got in early says that his stock may be rising, especially as a special teamer where he got the first punt return of the second half.
The 2017 seventh-round pick has played inside for a large portion of training camp but with Tashawn Bower out for the game, he moved to defensive end to give Jalyn Holmes more work inside. He picked up an impressive sack in the third quarter and another in the fourth quarter, showing quickness off the edge.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 18, 2018
At least in the first two preseason games, Holmes has shown an ability to get in the face of the quarterback. He consistently created pressure up the middle against the Jags in the latter half of the game.