LET US FOCUS ON VENGEANCE FOR HOW THE SEASON ENDED...wait, it's pre-season. That's stupid. Please, for the Love of all that is Holy, people that announce this game or comment on it during highlight shows, don't say the Vikings have vengeance on their mind. Winning a pre-season game to avenge a previous season loss is literally the dumbest story line in an NFL pre-season.
But you hear it, every year, from somewhere. And it's always dumb.
But you know what isn't dumb? Trying to figure out what the Vikings need to do to get better so they can totally avenge last year's Wildcard loss and let Seattle know who the boss is.
Wait. Damn it. I hate myself.
Either way, let's get on to looking at Thursday night's game against Seattle, and what I'll be looking for.
1) Better Run Defense. When the first team defense was in during their limited action against the Bengals, the run defense wasn't particularly impressive. And it sort of set the tone for the rest of the night, as the second team wasn't all that much better, and gave up a 22 play drive the next time Cincinnati had the ball. True, the Vikings held on a 4th and one and they gave up no points, but still...that needs to get cleaned up.
2) Right Tackle. Starter Andre Smith was a hot mess in limited action on Friday, and last year's starter, T.J. Clemmings, didn't look all that bad against mostly second teamers. As a matter of fact, when the Vikings returned to Minnesota, Clemmings replaced Smith on the first team line, but Mike Zimmer has said nothing final has been decided. Still, it will be interesting to see who starts, and who plays the most with the first team. Or if their reps are split.
3) Is Waynes The Man? Based on his in game performance (solid, with no major errors) and post game comments from the coaching staff, it feels like Trae Waynes has an edge on Terence Newman now and that it's his job to lose. If so, where does Newman work in at, and how will that affect Mackensie Alexander?
4) Jeff Locke. I kind of don't know what to make of Locke. I wasn't impressed, but it seems that the only punt the coaching staff was upset with was the 56 yarder that ended up being returned for a touchdown after like 32 missed tackles. So I obviously know nothing of special teams, but Mike Priefer does. And Mike Priefer used to be a helicopter pilot in the military, too, so I'm cool with this, I guess.
5) We're Still Doin' The Safety Dance. Antone Exum, Jr., and Jayron Kearse both played well on Friday, and the competition to see who backs up Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo is still very much up in the air. And although he didn't play, Anthony Harris is still very much in the mix.
6) Treadwell and Alexander. I thought the top two rookies both played well on Friday, especially Treadwell. Alexander had some impressive moments, including an interception. Their development is going to be a continuing storyline for 2016, well at least Treadwell is. Alexander is playing himself into the mix, though, and in this day and age you can't have enough good cornerbacks.
So we're on to Seattle, and the preseason continues on.