The Vikings lost by two touchdowns on Friday, but of course it was the preseason. The final score mattered about as much as the plot in a porn movie. What does matter is what certain players showed as they're trying to make the final 53 man roster. In his first Training Camp press conference since the game, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier had mixed reviews of his team's performance against the Houston Texans.
Frazier was happy with his team's effort and discipline, pointing out that the team had only one penalty called on them in the first half. But he wasn't as pleased with some of the team's execution, especially in the red zone and on third down. He acknowledged that the first week was mostly to see as many players on the field as possible, which is why you saw the first team offense for all of two plays on Friday. You can expect to see more of the starters next week against the Buffalo Bills; Frazier noted that the first unit will probably play into the second quarter depending on the number of snaps each side of the ball takes.
Coach Frazier was quick to praise a handful of players that stood out on Friday:
There were a number of guys, but it's hard to overlook Cordarrelle Patterson. That opening kickoff was a great way to start a game. He had a couple nice catches as well. Stephen Burton did some good things at the wide receiver position. The run by Zach Line, that was pretty impressive as well. There were a couple defenders that did some things--our early draft picks did well. Michael Mauti got in there. We have a lot of guys that did some good things, but just as a whole we need to execute a little better.
The injury report was relatively quiet after the first game. There were only two players that caused some concern: Sharrif Floyd and Jacob Lacey. Floyd had a scare during the game but walked off after his own power. According to Frazier, Floyd is set to get an MRI on his knee because it's more sore today than it was Saturday. Frazier didn't appear very concerned about Floyd's status and said the MRI was more precautionary than anything, but his status is definitely worth tracking in the coming days. Lacey had his knee scoped and is out for 2 to 4 weeks. Other than that the only bumps and bruises Frazier discussed were pretty minor. Christian Ballard is being held out of practice on Sunday with some soreness and Brandan Bishop could be limited with an illness. Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Bishop are expected to take part in practice this afternoon.
When asked about the competition at the third running back slot behind Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, Frazier made it sound like Matt Asiata till had the leg up despite Line's big touchdown against Houston. Asiata's experience, familiarity with the offense, and efficient blocking seem to have given him a leg up over the competition thus far. Frazier stressed that blocking is paramount for the fullback in the Vikings' offensive scheme. The battles to make the team at wide receiver are still up for grabs; Frazier stated that he's interested in seeing how steps up for the fifth and sixth WR spots over the next couple weeks.
Even though the first-teamers are slated to get more snaps this week, don't include AP in that group just yet. "He's always in the conversation when we talk about our offense," Frazier said. Personally I'd be surprised if Peterson takes any snaps in Buffalo, but Frazier at least kept the possibility open.
We're just minutes away from the start of the afternoon session; be sure to follow Arif (@ArifHasanDN) and I (@eric_j_thompson) on Twitter for up-to-the minute news and reactions.