It happens about every time this year. At first, you’re excited about training camp and football. Then a couple guys get hurt, preseason becomes kind of a slog, and you’re ready for the regular season to start.
And this year, Seattle happens to be the opponent where my antipathy comes out, so no offense, but I’m sick of the preseason, and therefore, I’m sick of Seattle.
Aren’t we, Mr. Smith...ereens?
Feeling so tired,
and grungy and scared.
Tired of kickers
and the o-line’s just fair.
Tired of going nowhere,
And I’m sick of Seattle.
Your SMR that matters but doesn’t count follows.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Kyle Sloter, QB: I’ve watched Sloter play really well, for the most part, in all three preseason games so far. It’s a stretch to call a game winning preseason drive ‘electric’, but Sloter was about as clutch as you can in that situation. He engineered two fourth quarter TD drives, the last one with under a minute left, to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. He was poised, accurate, and looked like a solid veteran in the pocket. I think he has made a solid case to be the number two guy behind Kirk Cousins. YOU LIKE THAT?!
Dalvin Cook, RB: Obviously this isn’t based on stats, but it was just nice to see him back on the field. I would have liked another series, but if the coaching staff is good with Cook just dipping his toe in the water and keeping him rested for week one, that’s fine with me.
Chad Beebe, WR: If you’re a guy fighting for a spot on the 53 man roster, you couldn’t do much more than what Beebe did to make a case for making the cut. Beebe had five catches for 59 yards, which both led the team, and caught the game winning TD with 47 seconds left. Sloter threw it low and away, and put it in a spot where only Beebe could catch it. It was a tough opportunity, but Beebe pulled it in. Beautiful throw and catch, and everyone goes home happy. He also had a really nice punt return to set the offense up at the 46 on that game winning drive. Just a great night all around for him.
Stefon Diggs, WR: Diggs seems to have become the favorite target of Kirk Cousins so far, and he had another four catches for 51 yards in one half of work. He really seems to have developed a feel for the offenses, and it seems like he’s going to be in for a monster year.
Kirk Cousins, QB: The first team offense needed to bounce back with a solid to good performance after last week’s shart against Jacksonville, and they did. Minnesota really seems to be focusing on short crossing and out type stuff early, as Cousins went 17-28 for 182 yards. He only went deep (20+ yards) three times that I remember, twice to Diggs and once to Thielen, completing one. The rest were short to mid stuff, and it worked. Minnesota went on drives on 15 and 16 plays to open the game, a three and out, and then a really nice 13 play drive to essentially end the half. Two of those drives resulted in missed fg’s (grrrrr), but I thought Cousins ran the offense very well.
C.J. Ham, RB: Ham reminded us why he’s going to make the roster, catching two dump offs and turning them into 26 yards and two first downs.
Laquon Treadwell, WR: THAT is what we’ve been expecting out of Treadwell, and I think the Vikings have a sold third WR option. He had three grabs for 44 yards, including a big 27 yard catch and run on the Vikings two minute drive at the end of the first half.
Daniel Carlson, K: I really, REALLY don’t want to go through a kicker soap opera again. I try to remember that it’s the preseason, and very often it’s not indicative of how the regular season will play out. But a week after the Vikings cutg Kai Forbath and winning the job, Carlson couldn’t have picked a worse time to miss two field goals and barely make an extra point.
Trevor Siemian, QB: In the off-season, the Vikings traded for Siemian to be the primary backup to Kirk Cousins, and at the time everyone thought it was a good move. Frankly, he’s been terrible through three games. For a guy with as much experience as Siemian has in the NFL, he hasn’t shown it at all yet. His throws have been erratic, he doesn’t seem to have a ton of pocket awareness, and the Vikings offense has struggled mightily when Siemian has been at the helm. I will cut him some slack in that when he started the second half, it was the Vikings second team offense against mostly the Seahawks first team defense. But still, I don’t have a warm fuzzy about SIemian at all should he be called on.
Kendall Wright, WR: I put him here for a couple reasons. One, he was supposed to be a solid WR4 option, but so far he only has one catch through three games, and had none against Seattle. Secondly, and most importantly, I want to show you this savage tweet by Vikings beat reporter Chris Tomassen of the St Paul Pioneer Press. Tomasson tweeted this right after Siemian caught his own deflected pass in the second half:
Trevor Siemian now has the same number of catches this preseason as Kendall Wright.— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) August 25, 2018
The Offensive Line. In the second half, I’ll grant you Aviante Collins, Danny Isidora, and Brian O’Neill struggled at times. But based on my Twitter feed, I expected an utter disaster with the first team (I couldn’t see the game live and had to watch it later).
Maybe I’m the idiot here (which if you’ve read more than about three of my posts you’d concede is a distinct possibility), but I didn’t see a disaster. The times Kirk Cousins got pressured were on a naked bootleg where if you sell the play hard enough the defensive end flows away from the waggle, and then a delayed blitz by Bobby Wagner that was nullified on a defensive holding call. Latavius Murray didn’t get a lot of yards rushing, but it also looked like there were holes there, and Murray either didn’t see them or thought he saw something where there wasn’t anything. Cousins didn’t seem to be under an immense amount of pressure, and when he was he was able to move his feet to keep the play alive.
Buy: Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs have something special going on. There is a solid connection developing between Diggs and Cousins, and it’s really nice to see. There were two nice catches in week one, and another one against Seattle. It was a beautiful back shoulder throw down the sideline, and Diggs didn’t adjust until the final second. It set the Vikes up on the 10, and they eventually scored a touchdown.
Sell: Kirk Cousins and Adam Thieilen have something special going on. While it’s not overly concerning, it would have been nice to see Cousins and Thielen develop a better rapport these last three weeks. He had four catches against the Seahawks, but it still feels like Thielen and Cousins are about a step behind each other. There was a throw behind Thielen, and an overthrow where he was wide open down the sideline, and hopefully that will get cleaned up by week one.
Buy: Cornelius Edison has done an admirable job in place of Pat Elflein. When Pat Elflein was placed on the PUP (and we’re getting to crunch time with him btw) as camp began, and then Nick Easton went down for the year, Edison stepped in on an emergency basis and has essentially played himself on to the roster. I didn’t think he had a shot in Hell of making the team, and now if he has to play as the starter, I think the Vikings will still be okay.
Sell: Cornelius Edison is better than Pat Elflein. All plaudits of Edison aside, the offensive line is much better with Elflein. The sooner he gets out there, the better off the Vikings offense will be.
Buy: Kyle Sloter should be QB2. You have to take the level of competition into consideration, but Sloter has looked the part of a backup QB a lot more than SIemian has so far this year. He looks a lot more poised in the pocket, and the offense just runs a lot better with him at QB. He should get a hard look at QB2.
Sell: Trevor SIemian should be QB3. I have no idea if the Vikes will change their QB depth chart and whether or not Sloter will jump Siemian. If SIemian is demoted, though, I would think the Vikings will try and trade him. You only have two QB’s active on game day, usually, and in a QB starved league SIemian might fetch a fifth round pick they lost to Denver to trade for him.
Buy: Jake Wieneke two point conversion. That was fun, wasn’t it? Wieneke took a Kyle Sloter pass at the two and looked like he would be stopped, and the Vikings would lose. But he made a heck of a play to get the ball across the pylon right before he went out of bounds. Two point conversion good, Vikings win.
Sell: Already in the ‘go for two’ mode after every touchdown. Minnesota was going to go for two in that situation above, because an preseason overtime game sounds about as fun as getting pepper sprayed. But long before that, when Latavius Murray scored, the Vikes eschewed the extra point, and a Cousins pass to Treadwell was no good. After the game Mike Zimmer said it was a message to Carlson...and man the last thing this team needs is the head coach sending messages to a kicker about extra points three games in to the freaking pre-season.
Make your kicks, Daniel-san.