Photo credit: Minneapolis Star Tribune
First preseason game is out of the way for the Minnesota Vikings. Three more to go and they will host the New Orleans Saints on September 11.
The Vikings won 17-10 against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. Here are some thoughts on the game:
-Dalvin Cook had a nice debut
The highly touted rookie has impressed during minicamps and training camp and also looked good on Thursday.
Did he look like a superstar? No, but he didn’t need to. He still has plenty of time and he did show potential and looked pretty comfortable for someone making his NFL debut. He did miss a block, which resulted in a sack but overall had a nice debut.
He rushed for 13 yards on five carries and caught four passes for 30 yards. His ability to run and catch will really help the offense this year.
-Offensive line still has issues
Riley Reiff was held out due to his back injury, but the offensive line did not look good, which is not a good sign. Still far too early to panic, but given how the line has performed the past three seasons, it was not a good sight.
Fellow free agent signee, Mike Remmers played, but gave up a sack to undrafted rookie Eddie Yarbrough. Sam Bradford did not have enough time to throw, which was very often the case last season.
Last season Andre Smith was signed to be the team’s starting right tackle. He struggled in the preseason and that continued into the regular season, before he suffered a season-ending injury. Remmers can still turn out to be nice addition, but Thursday was not a good start.
The good news was that rookie Pat Elflein looked good.
-Anthony Barr looked more like Anthony Barr
The fourth year linebacker looked good in his first two seasons, but struggled last season. He was Farr from being Barr last year. He looked good last night with three tackles. On consecutive plays he had a tackle for a loss and rushed Tyrod Taylor, which forced an incompletion.
Despite Barr’s struggles, the Vikings defense was still among the best in the league. If he can return to form this year it will be that much more beneficial for the defense.
Barr’s play last season got some criticism from head coach Mike Zimmer last season, but he has praised him in training camp this year.
-Stacey Coley looked good
The seventh-round pick has a nice debut. He had three receptions for 67 yards. His 38-yard run and catch set up a field goal and later had a 24-year reception near the sideline, which set up a touchdown.
He also returned a punt for eight yards. Marcus Sherels will again be the team’s punt returner, but if he got hurt, it would not be a shock if they were to put Coley there.
–Taylor Symmank has a leg up on the punting job so far
The rookie is battling Ryan Quigley for the punting job. Symmank had a nice night averaging 44.4 yards per punt, including a long of 60 yards.
Quigley, who was signed after Jeff Locke signed with the Indianapolis Colts, averaged 38 yards on two punts.
Locke was the team’s punter for the past four seasons. He struggled in his first three seasons. Last season he improved, but struggled towards the end of the season. Having a good punter can be very underrated especially when you have a very good defense.
Up next: Vikings head to Seattle to face the Seahawks on August 18.