We’re at halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium, and if what we see in the All-Important Third Preseason Game™ is what we can expect from the Minnesota Vikings this season. . .well, let’s just hope that it’s not.
After a first half that, with the exception of one highlight, can charitably be called “ugly,” the Vikings trail the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 9-7.
The Vikings forced the Cardinals to go three-and-out on the first drive of the afternoon, and featured an interesting alignment on third down with Stephen Weatherly and Hercules Mata’afa substituting in at the defensive tackle spots.
After sitting for the first two preseason games, Dalvin Cook took the field with his teammates for Minnesota’s first series. The Vikings went three-and-out as well as Kirk Cousins overthrew Stefon Diggs on a long pass. Matt Wile handled the first punt of the afternoon for the Vikings.
On their second drive, the Cardinals got a bit of luck when what should have been a fumble by David Johnson was ruled to be down by contact. The Vikings held the visitors to a field goal attempt, and Zane Gonzalez connected from 32 to give Arizona a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
On the Vikings’ next possession, we got a reminder of what Dalvin Cook can be if he stays healthy.
Yes, that was an 85-yard touchdown run for Cook, and after Kaare Vedvik connected on the extra point (out of the hold of Matt Wile), the Vikings had a 7-3 lead.
Arizona added another Gonzalez field goal early in the second quarter, a 38-yarder to make it 7-6. After a couple of ugly showings by the Vikings’ offense, Gonzalez tacked on another three-pointer, this one a 47-yarder to put the Cardinals back in front, 9-7.
The Vikings got one last opportunity to move the ball downfield, and set things up for a field goal attempt for Kaare Vedvik. With Matt Wile holding, Vedvik. . .pushed a 43-yard attempt wide to the left, keeping the score at 9-7. The Cardinals made a push at the end of the half, but got stopped short, so that’s how we go into the locker room.
As a whole, the entire Vikings first-team offense was incredibly unimpressive in the first half. Cousins completed just 3-of-13 passes for 35 yards (with 29 coming on a pass to Diggs late in the quarter) and was sacked a couple of times. He didn’t get a lot of help, either. . .Diggs had a dropped pass and Chad Beebe had at least one drop as well. Adam Thielen didn’t play in this game at all, but still. . .in the All-Important Third Preseason Game™, you would hope for more out of your #1 offense than that.
There were some issues on defense as well, with Xavier Rhodes looking particularly bad in coverage on a couple of plays. This team needs him to be right for Week 1, so hopefully whatever issues there might be aren’t serious.
All in all, not a great first half for the Vikings in what’s supposed to be the most important game of the preseason, and they go into the locker room trailing the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 9-7.
Enjoy the rest of the game, folks! Hopefully the second half will be better than the first for the purple.