So, the first pre-season game of the year is in the books, and there's a few things to discuss. Ted already has the Stock Market Report up, and I'm sure that Arif will be in with some significantly more detailed takes from his perspective in the press box (which was awesome) later on, but these are my thoughts from the first game of the year.
I'd like to point out that I was attempting to do these during the game, but we had a power outage over here in the early part of the fourth quarter, and I've been in the dark. . .literally and figuratively. . .since then. I'll have to go back and watch the last part of the game later.
-It's hard not to be impressed with what Cordarrelle Patterson did in his first game on an NFL field. The 50-yard kick return to start the game was quite nice, and he also added four catches for 54 yards. A lot of those were against backups, sure, but he showed a lot more polish as a receiver than I think a lot of folks expected. Once he develops something with Christian Ponder, I think he's going to be just fine.
-Speaking of Ponder. . .yes, he threw an interception on his second pre-season pass, after throwing a nice completion on his first one. It wasn't a perfect pass by Ponder, certainly, but it was a catchable ball for Jerome Simpson. If you're scoring at home, Jay Cutler threw an interception on his first pre-season attempt. . .not that it has any bearing on Ponder or the Vikings. I'm just saying is all.
-I also understand that it's not going to stop the Ridiculous Internet Overreaction™ about the play, but that's my take on it.
-Not sure about the decision to pull Ponder after two plays. I get only wanting to play him for one series, but you would have to think that series would be more than two plays. I thought he should have gotten the second drive as well, but hey. . .I'm not Leslie Frazier, what the heck do I know?
-Nice job by Zach Line on his touchdown reception. As PA pointed out numerous times on the broadcast, he had more all-purpose yards at SMU than Eric Dickerson (but not Craig James), so he has some ability with the football. Will it be enough for him to make the team? We'll have to see.
-Matt Cassel's interception was a bit on the ugly side, to be certain. I'll have to go back and see if Cassel's arm was hit as he threw, but the pass was thrown in such a manner that John Carlson had no shot at it). Cassel looked alright other than that. . .probably not as good as his numbers (12/19 for 212 yards) would indicate.
-Bobby Felder had an up-and-down night, giving up the Texans' first touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins on a play where he actually had pretty solid coverage. He also made a couple of nice plays in goal-line defense in the third quarter that forced the Texans to settle for a tying field goal. Then he got caught in no man's land on the Texans' second touchdown.
-It's going to sound like a cliche, but Michael Mauti just looks like an NFL middle linebacker. As we've said before, if the guy stays healthy, he was an absolute steal where the Vikings got him.
-Sharrif Floyd had a decent night with a tackle for loss and a batted pass (somehow, what with those short arms), before leaving with a knee issue. He's not going to miss any practice time, according to the reports, so his being held out the rest of the game was strictly precautionary.
-Stephen Burton made a pretty solid case to make the team as a receiver, as he had a huge catch-and-run from Matt Cassel to set up the Vikings' first score. I'm not sure how many receivers the Vikings are going to have on the final roster, whether it's going to be five or six. You have to think Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jerome Simpson are locks, which is going to leave guys like Burton, Joe Webb, and others fighting for one or two spots (to say nothing of what potentially happens if the team wants to activate Greg Childs at some point).
-I'm happy to report that when James Vandenberg came into the game and everyone was making the easy Varsity Blues references, I was making Dawson's Creek jokes. That was about the time the power went out. Maybe that's a sign. Or the powers that be just didn't want me to watch James Vandenberg, I don't know.
That's about everything I've got at the present time, folks. I'm sure there will be more to talk about over the next couple of days.