If there was one word to describe the first half of action between the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium, that word would be “sloppy.” The half was filled with penalties by both teams and overall bad play
Neither team accomplished much on their first drive. The Vikings picked up one first down on a Jacksonville penalty, and the Jaguars went three-and-out on their first possession after both Mackensie Alexander and Anthony Barr had an opportunity to intercept the same Blake Bortles pass. The Vikings’ second drive featured numerous penalties (on both teams) and some generally sloppy play, but the purple got themselves into position for Kai Forbath (who will apparently handle field goals today) to attempt a 44-yard field goal. Forbath split the uprights, and the home team took an early 3-0 lead.
The teams then exchanged turnovers on back-to-back plays. Harrison Smith got an interception of Blake Bortles to set the Vikings up deep in Jacksonville territory.
However, on the first play of the next Minnesota drive, Latavius Murray fumbled for the second time in the quarter, with Calais Campbell recovering for the Jaguars.
Latavius Murray returns the favor pic.twitter.com/kASfTgBxQA— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 18, 2018
Jacksonville pushed into Minnesota territory on their next drive, and a couple of screen passes from Bortles to T.J. Yeldon gave the Jaguars a first-and-goal at the Minnesota 5-yard line. A delay of game penalty moved Jacksonville back five yards, and Danielle Hunter sacked Bortles for another five-yard loss.
Danielle Hunter finally gets home on the sack and good god pic.twitter.com/wAvod81DUh— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) August 18, 2018
Bortles scrambled down to the 1-yard line on third-and-long, and the Jaguars had a 4th-and-1 from the 1-yard line. Jacksonville went for it on the first play of the second quarter, and Leonard Fournette took it over the goal line for the score. The extra point was good, and Jacksonville took a 7-3 lead.
Minnesota went three-and-out on their next drive, with the offense continuing to look unimpressive against a stout Jacksonville defense. The Jaguars answered with a three-and-out of their own against Minnesota’s second-string defense, and that was it for Kirk Cousins and the offensive starters for the Vikings, as Trevor Siemian led the offense onto the field.
Mike Boone got things off to a nice start for the Vikings’ #2 offense, as he got three carries for 34 yards to start the drive. However, the drive stalled and the Vikings called on Kai Forbath to attempt a 41-yard field goal. The veteran’s kick bounced off the right upright and fell no good, keeping the score at 7-3.
The injury bug hit the Vikings again as well, as rookie defensive end Ade Aruna suffered what appears to be a significant right leg injury and had to be carted off the field. When we get word on the extent of the injury, we’ll bring you an update.
There wasn’t much more to talk about for the rest of the first half, and we go into the locker room at halftime with the road team leading 7-3.
It was an ugly first half for the Minnesota offense. Kirk Cousins went just 3-of-8 for 12 yards, and the offense overall went 0-for-6 on third down. Trevor Siemian didn’t fare much better, completing 3-of-7 passes for 23 yards.
Hopefully the Vikings can pick things up significantly in the second half and some of the younger players will make an impression. For now, however, the Vikings trail the Jaguars by a score of 7-3 at U.S. Bank Stadium.