We've been mostly focused on the high-profile question-marks in yesterday's game against the Chiefs, guys like Favre, Jackson, and Harvin... but there's was a lot of other play worth mentioning. Other play, and other interactions that I just really enjoyed. Here's some of the things I noticed that seem worth mentioning;
Jasper Brinkley! That young man was all over the field last night on the D, making plays and really showing his stuff. He's signed and safe, so hopefully we won't have to be placing any more calls panicky calls to Napoleon :)
Jamarca Sanford got some good play-time in and made a solid impact at during the late goal-line stand. But like Karl Paymuh, who also looked good and aggressive in this game, they both need to get better at working their way inside the coverage. They excel at sticking with their man but they have that typical safety-mentality of staying on top to prevent the big bomb run. When the ball comes in short, they're not yet demonstrating ability to get back in and under to break it up, or make the pick.
Ben Leber! He did a man's job of it last year on the right side, and he's looking even more solid this pre-season, glad we got him. Kenny Onotolu was making his presence known too, and on special teams where he was right in there on most of the stops.
Pass-rushing is something the Vikings have gotten much better at since Allen came to town and he seems to have inspired others to pick up the pace. Our guys are getting good penetration to the backfield, and regularly flushing out the QB. Unfortunately, if they don't catch the guy right away, they're not doing very well in running him down. The result is a lot of running around in the backfield and the QB making his completions or taking off downfield. They need to do better in pursuit.
Kluwe gets an A+ for improvement over last year. He's getting the hang-time, the distance, the accuracy; it's all there now. I love seeing those swarming purple jerseys on the scene before the receiver can do very much. One thing to watch out for is that new rule limiting 'wedges', no more than two guys running in tandem. Violating that sort of thing can easily happen in an unplanned fashion, and draw penalties. I don't think Chilly will have anything to complain about this year. Farwell is like a force of nature out there, he's just everywhere the action is.
Some tidbits caught in passing from the announcers; Harvin is driven to the stadium every morning by his mother! Wow, talk about a great way to make sure a young man with a troubled past is kept grounded and supported, I have to give Chilly huge props for setting this up. It really reassures me on Harvin and gives me cause to believe he's not going to turn into a cancer or a trouble-maker; Harvin's been set up for success. Harvin was kicking himself in an interview regarding one of his returns; he seemed to think that he was one juke away from taking it to the house. I'm not sure i saw that myself, but apparently he saw a lot of green on the other side :)
You had to love that goal-line stand at the end... the energy of the entire team, did you see the guys on the sideline getting into it and cheering on our D?! This may have been a pre-season game that didn't mean anything in the stats or division championship, but they didn't act like it was meaningless. The entire team was yelling and celebrating that, and to me, that speaks worlds about the competitiveness and comradery that our Vikings team has this year.
This is the first pre-season in my memory where I like most of the guys on the squad, and hate to see the inevitable cuts. Not that everyone's a superstar (although we have a lot of very good guys here!), but so many of them have potential that I really don't envy the coaching staff's job in whittling down the roster.
What parts of the game did everyone else really enjoy, or pay close attention to (other than the QB drama)?