I love weddings, especially as I get older. It’s cool to see young kids in love, just setting out together on their journey. I guess I should say I love wedding receptions. The ceremony is a lot of blah blah I do blah blah stand up, sing a bad hymn, blah blah. But the reception, especially one with an open bar? Sign me up, man. I am there. The food is generally pretty good, and there’s usually enough food that you can get seconds if it’s a buffet, and did I mention open bar?
It’s a ton of fun! People are having a good time, drinking, the DJ is playing some great songs, you go out and dance to a couple...man, what a blast. But then, after awhile, it starts to get a little bit stale. You realize the beer is just Bud Light, the food has been yanked from the tables, the songs are starting to become unfamiliar, and less people are dancing. Then the DJ plays ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ to try and revive things, and you realize you’ve come to the ‘time to leave’ part of the reception. Because after Cotton Eye Joe, it’s time to do the Macarena and oh sweet merciful Lord, just shoot me when that song comes on.
And that’s what week two of the preseason is. It’s Cotton Eye Joe with the Macarena just over the horizon, and I’ve officially had enough. It’s time to go home, throw up the beer and food, and get up the next day and start the rest of my life. Only I’ll have a brutal hangover for a couple days, and that, kids, is games three and four.
Your ‘Bud Light sucks and I want to drink real beer’ stock market report follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Tashawn Bower, DE: Bower, an undrafted free agent, is the third best defensive end on this roster right now. That’s a bold statement when you consider Brian Robison is a solid veteran, but Bower just jumps out at you when he’s on the field. I know I should temper my expectations, as his play with the first team has been limited, but man, the Vikings might have something special here.
Stefon Diggs, WR: Diggs looked like the WR he was last year. Got open in space, had 4 catches for 65 yards, and seemed to have a good rhythm with Sam Bradford.
Sam Bradford, QB: Bradford looked sharp tonight, much better than last week. he had time to set up and throw, and looked poised and confident, just like in training camp. If Bradford has time, this offense is going to be good. We saw a glimpse of that tonight.
Jaleel Johnson, DT: Like Bower, the rookie Johnson, a 4th round pick, has been very disruptive when on the field. he doesn’t get washed out of a play, wins his battles, and re-directs plays.
Dalvin Cook, RB: Cook started out slow, but three of his last four runs were for 9, 9, and 15 yards. He missed a couple of open running lanes in the first quarter, but overall he looked much better running the ball.
Ben Gedeon, LB: Gedeon looked solid, and played better than either Emmanuel Lamur or Edmond Robinson. For a guy that was drafted as a MLB and was moved outside, he seems to have moved into the top slot on the weak side with a very solid performance against Seattle.
First team offensive line: With Riley Reiff and Alex Boone not playing, a lot of fans were expecting a repeat of the Buffalo performance. But the lineup of Rashod Hill-Nick Easton-Pat Elflein-Joe Berger-Mike Remmers played very well. They opened up holes for Dalvin Cook, who had 40 yards on seven carries, and gave Sam Bradford a solid pocket to set up and throw in all night, while not allowing any sacks.
Bucky Hodges, TE: It’s been a quiet preseason for Hodges, right up until he caught consecutive passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. he showed nice hands, some wheels, and he got into the end zone for the Vikings only TD of the night.
Isaac Freuchte, WR: When you’re on the bubble, letting a catchable ball bounce off you that becomes an interception is...sub-optimal.
Rodney Adams, WR: On one hand, Adams caught 4 passes for 26 yards. But the one area he’s supposed to excel at right now is as a kick returner, and he fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half.
Taylor Heinicke, QB: So if you didn’t watch the game, you might look at Heinicke’s stat line and think ‘hey, he wasn’t that bad’. You might also think that when you read a Blake Bortles stat line, but you also realize you’re having a fever dream and nothing is what it appears. It is like that for Heinicke. He is not good, and you should not try to talk yourself into the line of thinking that he might be good.
Buy: The first team offense looked much better. I would hope that we all feel better with what we saw against Seattle than we did against the Bills. Everything on offense looked and operated a lot better, and when they came off the field I took a big sigh of relief.
Sell: The first team offense fixed all their problems. That said, the maddening penalties once they got into the red zone were frustrating to watch. A false start and a delay of game (delay of game, really?) killed the rhythm and momentum the offense had going, and what looked like a good-looking TD drive became a field goal.
Buy: The Vikings have serious depth on the defensive line. We’ve talked about Johnson and Bower, and when you add them to Tom Johnson, Linval Joseph, Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, and Brian Robison, you have a level of depth that might be tough to match by anyone else in the NFL.
Sell: The Vikings have serious depth in the secondary. But the secondary is a much different story, much like a literary classic such as A Tale of Two Cities or Of Mice and Men differs from Rick Speak or promotional literature from the Westboro Baptist Church. I thought the Vikings first team secondary was a little shaky, but okay. But after that, there wasn’t one guy in the 2 deep or 3 deep that gave me any confidence Friday night that if someone goes down, someone else could step in and play at just an okay level.
Buy: Letting Cordarrelle Patterson leave via free agency wasn’t a bad decision. Patterson had been a disappointment as a receiver as a first round pick, and letting him leave via free agency wasn’t necessarily a bad decision. The Vikings look like they have a few guys that can step in a replace his stats as a receiver.
Sell: The Vikings have seamlessly replaced Cordarrelle Patterson as a kick returner. But it was as a kick returner that Patterson brought the fans to their feet. And right now, the guys trying to replace Patterson have not been up to the job. Stacy Adams has had two fumbles in two games, Stacy Coley tried to return a kick that was five yards deep in the end zone and made it ALL THE WAY TO HIS OWN 10 YARD LINE...and everyone else has been just as underwhelming. They need to find somebody, fast.
Quote of the Week:
This week, my wife joins the cavalcade of quotes. Her birthday was this past week, and she was out of town for work on her actual birthday, so we went and celebrated tonight. It was some cooking presentation by a chef that made us (and like 25 other people) a five course meal, with a wine pairing for each course.
Very foo foo, but hey, the food was good, it was her birthday, and we were having a good time. This place was way out in the western St. Louis suburbs, so it ended right at nine, and didn’t get back until 9:30, and we hustled out of there so I could get back and see the game. So, we get home, and I’m watching the game. The score is 17-6 when she notices.
Her: The Vikings are losing 17-6? That doesn’t seem very good.
Me: Well, it’s preseason. So the score doesn’t really matter. Well, it matters, but it’s also about looking at the talent on the second and third team. That matters even more.
Her: Looks like Seattle’s talent matters a lot more than the Vikings. Glad we hurried home for this.
/turns on Cotton Eye Joe
/shotguns a Bud Light