The Vikings’ starters on both sides of the ball were very impressive in their limited work this evening, as they forced Case Keenum and the Broncos’ offense to two three-and-outs. As far as the Vikings’ offensive starters, they were even more impressive. Kirk Cousins and the starters only got one drive, but they looked great, save for one holding penalty on Cornelius Edison on a screen pass.
Cousins and the starting offense looked pretty outstanding, even without Dalvin Cook on the field. Cousins completed all four of his passing attempts for 42 yards on the drive, including a beautiful 28-yard toss to Stefon Diggs to set the Vikings up for a first and goal. Latavius Murray was also impressive on the drive, rushing for 43 yards on four carries. On 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Cousins and Diggs connected for the first touchdown of 2018, and the Vikings took a 7-0 lead after Daniel Carlson’s extra point split the uprights.
Such a dynamite throw from Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs— Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey) August 12, 2018
This season is going to be fun pic.twitter.com/7j3dfgEew2
Trevor Siemian took over at quarterback after the opening drive, as the Vikings apparently saw everything they needed to out of Cousins after that first drive.
The Vikings’ second-string defense generated the first turnover of the preseason, as Jack Tocho deflected a pass by Paxton Lynch and the ball was intercepted by Anthony Harris. Minnesota immediately capitalized, thanks to rookie running back Roc Thomas. Thomas got two carries for 10 yards, and then caught a 13-yard pass from Siemian for the Vikings’ second touchdown of the half, giving them a 14-0 lead after another Carlson extra point.
Denver finally caught a break midway through the second quarter, as a pass from Siemian bounced off the hands of Tyler Conklin (that really should have been caught), and was intercepted by Zaire Anderson to set the Broncos up at the Minnesota 30, their first trip into Minnesota territory on the evening. Royce Freeman helped the Broncos capitalize, as he took a handoff on 3rd-and-3 and rumbled 23 yards for a touchdown to cut the Minnesota lead to 17-7. The play was not only Denver’s first score of the night, but their initial first down of the evening as well, coming with 5:47 remaining in the first half.
On the next series, Roc Thomas struck again, as he took a short screen pass from Siemian, made a man miss, and rumbled 78 yards for his second touchdown of the evening. Carlson was good on the extra point again, and the Vikings lead once again expanded to 17 points at 24-7.
The Vikings special teams gave one back after the two-minute warning, unfortunately. Ryan Quigley punted the ball away to Isaiah McKenzie, who hesitated a lot on the return. When he got going, however, he made the Vikings’ punt coverage unit look terrible, as he wound up going 78 yards for another Denver touchdown. Brandon McManus added the extra point, and the lead for the Vikings was 24-14.
That’s how the first half ended, with the Vikings taking a 10-point lead into the locker room.
Cousins, as we’ve already detailed, had a perfect evening, going 4-for-4 for 42 yards and a score. Trevor Siemian played the remainder of the first half, and completed 11-of-17 passes for 165 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
On offense for the Vikings, the first half really belonged to Roc Thomas. He went over 100 yards receiving, snagging three passes for 102 yards and both of Siemian’s touchdown throws. He also had 28 yards on seven carries on the ground.
Latavius Murray carried the ball four times for 43 yards, including a pair of 21-yard runs, and Mike Boone has gotten eight carries on the night, but has managed to net just two yards in the first half.
Outside of Thomas, the rest of the Vikings’ receiving yardage is pretty spread out. Stefon Diggs caught three of Cousins’ four completions for 35 yards and a score, and Stacy Coley has two catches for 23 yards. Boone has two catches for 15 yards, and five different Vikings have one catch: David Morgan (11 yards), Kendall Wright (9 yards), C.J. Ham (7 yards), Laquon Treadwell (3 yards), and Tyler Conklin (2 yards).
We’re at halftime in Denver, and the Minnesota Vikings lead the Denver Broncos by a score of 24-14. Come on in and join us for the second half!