I won’t have my usual snap count and player analysis. Mostly because those stats aren’t available, but also because it would be 20 pages long with as many players that play.
Overall, it wasn’t a great start to the preseason. However, I think there is a little bit of an overreaction going on. It wasn’t that bad when you consider how many starters the Denver Broncos played versus the Vikings playing none. The Broncos have a quarterback competition to figure out and they played Drew Lock for a quarter and a half and the same with Teddy Bridgewater. Those are two quarterbacks with starting experience, and they should be lighting up the backups. Jerry Jeudy was out there for just as long. The Broncos did rest several defensive starters and our backup OL looked terrible against their reserve pass rushers. I am going to give you a few players I liked and a few that remind me it can always get worse.
Who Played Well?
Kris Boyd – He was matched up with Jeudy for the most part. He shut him down. He had several nice plays in coverage, and he forced the holding penalty in the red zone that set the Broncos back. He looked like he belonged on the field and quite frankly looked better than Dantzler on the other side. I think the starting lineup is set with Peterson, Breeland and Mac Alexander in the slot. Boyd might beat out Dantzler for that next man up spot.
Kellen Mond – He didn’t light up the stat sheet, but he played well IMO. He showed off his mobility and kept the chains moving. He would’ve had a TD pass if it wasn’t dropped by Whop. He bought time and lobbed the ball gently into Whop’s hands.
Wyatt Davis – Maybe it was because he was against lesser competition or maybe it was because he was following Dozier, but Wyatt held his own. He held his own in the pass game, but he really excelled in the run game. I thought he performed well, and I think he moves up to the 2nd string lineup next week.
#Vikings RGs in yesterday's game:— PFF MIN Vikings (@PFF_Vikings) August 15, 2021
Dakota Dozier (17 snaps):
- 20.9 overall grade
- 24.9 pass blocking grade
- 46.3 run blocking grade
Wyatt Davis (49 snaps):
- 78.9 overall grade
- 59.7 pass blocking grade
- 77.6 run blocking grade pic.twitter.com/TUqJdTD3r0
AJ Rose Jr. – Rose got a lot of playing time because Nwangwu went down early with a knee injury. Rose had 25 carries for 100 yards. He was most of the offense all day. He looked capable of filling that backup RB role if the Vikings are keen to moving on from Mattison.
Who Looked Bad?
Dakota Dozier – This guy might have gotten worse. He was playing against mostly backups for the Broncos. He had the holding penalty that gave up the safety. Shamar Stephen was the DL that beat him on that play. He was getting pushed backwards on a regular basis and he should be cut on Tuesday. I don’t know why we even need to wait until Tuesday to be honest. Go ahead and let him start looking at another profession.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette – Maybe it is because I have heard so many of you talk about how excited you were to see him, but man he was disappointing. He had a couple of drops and his only play of significance was a kick return. I think that return was somewhere around the 30 too. Not much gained. He looked bad and I don’t think he helped his chances of making the team.
Whop Philyor – It isn’t often I see a play not made and I think in my head, “I could’ve made that play”. I thought that when I saw Whop drop the pass in the end zone. It wasn’t a spectacular hit or knock away that caused the drop. It was his inability to secure the catch with plenty of time to do so. He had two full steps to bring in an easy pass from Mond. He looked like he had never seen a football before. I don’t remember any other opportunities from him, but this one play has him on my list.
Jake Browning – I haven’t seen much of Browning playing over the past few years. However, when I heard he lit it up in the practice game, I was excited to see what he had. Woof, he looked bad. He had the pick six where he was late on an out route, and he nearly had another one picked off in the Red Zone where we settled for our first field goal. Really disappointing and makes me worried if he lit up our defense in the practice game.
Cameron Dantzler – He got beat by the Lock/Hamler combo on a regular basis. He got beat on the first drive to get them in the Red Zone and he got beat for that long TD. He should be fighting for a starting role on this team. If he plays like this, I think he might be the 5th CB listed on the depth chart. I don’t think he is in danger of not making the team, because we have no depth. If we still had Hill and Gladney, his spot might be in trouble.
Kene Nwangwu left the game with a knee injury. I haven’t heard any updates.
Cameron Smith left the game with a concussion. It was his first game back since open heart surgery. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Overall, like I said, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t as bad as the score looks because of the situation our backups were put in. It was good to see Teddy out there at US Bank stadium. It sounds like the Broncos are leaning towards Lock to get the starting gig, but I am always rooting for Teddy to get the nod. He should have a long career in this league, even if it is Ryan Fitzpatrick esque.
The weekly highlights are up on YouTube, but with the NFL rules you’ll have to watch it on their site.