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Minnesota Vikings 20, Arizona Cardinals 9: Vikings’ starters look bad in “dress rehearsal”

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It wasn’t pretty, but it was a victory

NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings played host to the Arizona Cardinals in the third preseason game, which is generally viewed as a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. The starters on both sides of the ball played most of the first half, and for the Vikings. . .at least on offense. . .it wasn’t good.

The final score showed that the Vikings defeated the Cardinals by a final score of 20-9, but the first team for the purple on both sides of the ball was less than impressive.

The offense for the Vikings in the first half provided just one highlight. . .but it was a really, really cool one. Dalvin Cook, seeing his first action of the preseason, saw just two carries. The first one went for three yards. The second one went for a lot more.

Cook took a handoff from Kirk Cousins and blasted for an 85-yard touchdown, giving him the longest run from scrimmage in Vikings’ preseason history.

The passing offense was, to put it mildly, awful. Between inaccuracy from Cousins and a handful of drops, with Stefon Diggs and Chad Beebe being the primary culprits, Cousins completed just 3-of-13 passes in the first half for 35 yards. A good chunk of those yards. . .29 of them, to be exact. . .came on one pass to Diggs in the two-minute drill at the end of the half. Adam Thielen did not play in this one for the Vikings, but the pass offense was still bowling shoe ugly for the entire first half of play.

The Cook touchdown run was sandwiched in between three Zane Gonzalez field goals for Arizona, and they took a 9-7 lead into the locker room as a result.

There was no scoring in the third quarter, and the Vikings took the lead midway through the fourth quarter behind Kyle Sloter, who led yet another scoring drive for the Vikings’ offense. The drive was capped by Mike Boone, who went in from seven yards out.

The Vikings went for the two-point conversion, but Sloter’s pass to Bisi Johnson was ruled incomplete, leaving the score at 13-9 with just over eight minutes remaining.

The Cardinals got the football back, but were unable to generate any more points. The Vikings then held onto the ball for most of the final seven minutes. With less than a minute remaining, facing a 4th-and-2 from the Arizona 15, Sloter faked a handoff and hit Khari Blasingame for his third touchdown in three games, with Vedvik’s extra point providing the final margin of victory.

We touched on the ugly day for Cousins and the first-team offense, but the first team defense had their issues as well, with Xavier Rhodes had a couple of occasions where he got beaten badly by Arizona receivers. However, all of the Vikings’ defenders kept the Cardinals out of the end zone all afternoon, limiting their opponents to just the three field goals on the afternoon.

Another Viking that had a rough day was kicker Kaare Vedvik. Vedvik was given all of the Vikings’ place kicking opportunities on the afternoon, and though he connected on two extra points on the afternoon, he also missed two field goals. . .one wide left from 43 yards and one wide right from 54 yards. Matt Wile handled all of the punting on Saturday, and also handled all of the holding duties, meaning that Dan Bailey had the day off.

The Vikings move to 3-0 on the preseason, and will finish the preseason on Thursday night as they travel to upstate New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. The Cardinals fall to 1-2 on the preseason, and will finish their preseason on Thursday as well, traveling to take on the Denver Broncos.

The Vikings win the All-Important Third Preseason Game™ over the Arizona Cardinals by a final score of 20-9. Thanks to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!