Other than opening night, the dress rehearsal is the most significant emotional event for a Broadway play. That’s when you wear the costumes like you would during the play, there’s no pauses to go over lines, and you want to perform like you would when the curtain goes up.
But what if the opening act is a disaster? How do you recover? You call in the understudies, that’s what you do. Your show is still gonna get bad reviews, and it will be noticed that the headliners didn’t perform like they should have, but at least you get some entertainment, and the night was saved, thanks to them and San Francisco’s collapse at the end.
You saved me, San Francisco. Didn’t they, Train?
I've been high, I've been low,
I've been yes, and I've been OH HELL NO!
I've been rock 'n roll and disco,
Won't you save me San Francisco?
Your ‘I’m gonna put some lipstick on this pig’ SMR follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Taylor Heinicke, QB: I don’t know how Taylor Heinicke’s career will turn out. I don’t know that he’ll be on the Vikings when Teddy Bridgewater gets activated, or if he gets cut and signs somewhere else. But for one night, and one drive, he was the Best Player On The Minnesota Vikings. That was a hell of a final drive to win the game, preseason or not, and it deserves recognition. Well done.
Case Keenum, QB: Heinicke’s final drive overshadowed a very solid performance by Keenum, who was 10-14 for 139 yards and 2 TD’s. Keenum looked comfortable, poised, and got the Vikings back in to the game in the second half.
Stacy Coley, WR: All this kid does is make plays and catch everything thrown his way. I don’t see how he doesn’t make the final 53 after three really solid performances so far.
Sam Bradford, QB: I come here not to bury
Caesar Bradford, but to praise him. Sort of. Statistically, Bradford had a good night, and it would have even been better had Stefon Diggs not dropped two big passes. Yet, the Vikings first team offense failed to score, and has yet to score a touchdown this preseason. It feels like Bradford prefers a checkdown more than going downfield, and when you combine that with his limited mobility in the pocket, it gets frustrating to watch sometimes. Now, can a fair amount of the checkdown throws be attributed to being hurried in the pocket? Yes, but not all of them, and I’d like to see him take some more shots downfield.
Laquon Treadwell, WR: If there was a highlight on the first team offense, it was Treadwell. He finally got some meaningful preseason reps, and made the most of it, catching 3 passes for 36 yards. It was a glimpse of what he can do, and hopefully it was the beginning of the end of the ‘Treadwell is a bust’ talk.
Jerick McKinnon, RB/KR: This is my list, all time, of Vikings kick returners I would want to take a kick from 8 yards deep in the end zone:
- Percy Harvin
- Cordarrelle Patterson
I will now add McKinnon to this list, as he took a kick 108 yards for a TD. He also had a pretty decent night out of the backfield, totaling 58 combined yards on 11 touches.
Pat Elflein, C: I thought Elflein was moving guys around all night, and the only reason he’s not a blue chip is because most of his time came against the 49ers second team defense.
Jabari Price, CB: Price had a nice hit and forced fumble, that lead to an easy Antone Exum, Jr interception early in the second half. It was the only highlight play made by the secondary.
Stefon Diggs, WR: Diggs had two big drops in the first half that cost the Vikings drives, and it was all part of a particularly brutal performance overall by the first team offense.
Jayron Kearse, Missed Tackling Specialist: Missed tackles is kind of becoming a thing for him, and last night it cost the Vikings dearly, as his whiff on Raheem Mostert lead to an 87 yard touchdown. Woof.
Trae Waynes and the rest of the secondary: Waynes was picked on early, and gave up a bunch of receptions. Xavier Rhodes either got fooled or was expecting help over the top that never came on a 46 yard Marquise Goodwin touchdown reception, and it was just a brutal night all the way around.
Buy: It’s still the preseason. All of that said, these games don’t count, and it’s been pointed out that the Vikings aren’t implementing their full offense and defense, nor are they doing a full up gameplan for their opponents. And the Vikings have also been experimenting with different players at different positions, on both sides of the ball, trying to get as much on film as possible to come up with the best starting combos on both sides of the ball. A lot of the things they’re doing, personnel wise, they won’t be doing in the regular season.
Sell: It’s still the preseason. Yet there are some troubling signs. The first team offense has had 12 possessions in the preseason. They have punted 10 times, kicked one field goal, and last night they ran out of time on a completion to Adam Thielen down to the 49ers five yard line, thanks to some shoddy clock management. The first team defense hasn’t been much better. I counted eight full possessions by the first team, and they gave up three touchdowns, and only poor execution by the Bills in the first game prevented a third. It’s been a combination of poor execution, poor play calling, and inept situational awareness. If this lethargy carries over into the regular season, the Vikings will be picking in the top 10 of the draft, and the future of Rick SPielman and Mike Zimmer will be in doubt.
Buy: Hill-Easton-Elflein-Berger-Remmers. All I know is that when this offensive line combo went in to the game, the Vikes seemed to do a lot better in terms of opening holes, establishing a pocket for the QB to throw, and they seemed to move the ball better.
Sell: Reiff-Boone-Easton-Berger-Remmers. The left side of the line didn’t look good at all last night with Alex Boone and Riley Reiff, and seemed a heck of a lot better when Hill and Easton worked there. You can make the argument that Reiff needs more in-game action, and I can buy that. But for the last two weeks, Nick Easton has played a lot better than Alex Boone, and a combination of Easton at LG and Pat Elflein at C seems like a good idea. Heck, as well as Rashod Hill has played in place of Reiff, I wouldn’t be opposed in kicking him over to RT (or Reiff) and sitting Mike Remmers, who has been slight less than impressive so far.
Buy: Marshall Koehn’s 58 yard knuckle ball field goal. It wasn’t a pretty end over end kick, and it looked more like a Phil Niekro knuckleball than anything else, but it was a monster kick by Koehn, and it would have been good from 64 or 65 yards. Too bad he didn’t point at the 49ers sideline after he made that kick...
Sell: Marshall Koehn has won the kicking job. I still don’t think he won the job, though. After the 58 yarder, he missed a 47 yard field goal, and he has yet to show the consistency Kai Forbath showed last year. I still think the job is Forbath’s to lose, and he hasn’t done anything to lose it.
Quote Of The Week:
As many of you know, I co-host a Vikings podcast here on DN called Roughing The Podcast, with Di Murphy, another DN contributor. Di is also a big Gopher football fan too, but she had the unmitigated gall to go on vacation with her family last week, during the period of time the Vikings signed former Gophers QB Mitch Leidner. Me, being the responsible co-host that I am, I wanted to make sure she was aware of what was going on while on said vacation, so we had this text message exchange:
Me: LOL did you see that the Vikes signed Leidner?
Di: MITCH Leidner?
Di: To play QUARTERBACK?
Exactly, Di. Exactly. So although the Vikes move to 2-1 in the preseason, it’s the most unconvincing 2-1 I think I can ever remember. We’ll see you next week.