It was mixed bag of results this week. There was some encouraging play by the OL, DL and secondary. There was also some disappointing play by all three quarterbacks, the run game and everyone that played LT. The offense still hasn’t scored a TD in the preseason. The offense has put up nine points through two games. I don’t worry too much because we’ve played without Cook and Jefferson. Cousins and Thielen have barely played. It isn’t time to panic, but I worry about another slow start. Last year was an uphill battle because of the 1-4 start. This year the Vikes cannot afford to put themselves behind the eight ball.
Who Played Well?
Bashaud Breeland – This was his first game in purple. He looked great and proved he deserves that starting CB role. It will be Patrick Peterson and Breeland lining up on the outside baring any injuries. He wasn’t playing against the best throwing QB in the league, but he shut down everything that went his way. He dominated the competition and that is all he can do. PFF 93.7!
Kenny Willekes – The rookie out of Michigan State was our best pass rusher all evening. Kenny missed out on a sack as Jacob Eason slipped through his hands. He made every other play he could. He was getting solid pressure and looks to be vying for a rotational role. He ended up with a PFF grade of 89.9.
Oli Udoh – Udoh is going to be the starting RG and I feel good about that. He has played extremely well the entire preseason. His overall PFF grade was 83.8 with a 79.8 pass blocking grade and 79.1 run blocking grade. That is impressive, even if it is in the preseason.
Dozier/Davis – The other two RGs were really good too. Dozier had one of the worst performances in the league last week. I think Tebow might have been the only player I saw that was worse. This week Dozier bounced back with solid play. I was disappointed he was the RG2 still, but you have to give him credit for bouncing back. Davis played very solid again. I feel good about his long term prospects. Dozier PFF 78.7 overall with 83.7 PB and 60.0 RB. Davis PFF 76.2 overall with 83.8 PB and 70.2 RB. Can’t complain about those performances!
Britton Colqiutt – The other team’s punter was better than him. He wasn’t amazing, but he was consistent and pinned the Colts back inside the 20 multiple times. His performance last week was pathetic. It was good to seem him bounce back and regain a little confidence. You don’t want a kicker or punter enter a season with any doubts in their minds.
Who Stunk it Up?
The QBs – Kirk looked disinterested. He said earlier in the week training camp seemed like Groundhogs Day. I hope is disinterest is just excitement for the meaningful games to start. Kirk had a horrendous start to last season and was a big reason for the slow start for the team. He needs to be ready to go in three weeks. Kirk had a PFF grade 47.1. Jake Browning was over throwing players by wide margins. He had a couple of nice throws to Beebe to get into field goal range in a two minute drill, but the drive stalled because he overthrew Beebe on back to back throws. He seemed to focus on one player each drive. It was ISM’s drive on his first drive, then Beebe’s drive and then Osborne’s drive. I don’t know if he is focusing on one player or that is what called. It just seemed like a weird anomaly. Mond dropped the first snap of the second half and it didn’t improve much from there. He was hesitant to let it go early in the game. There was a third and long where he had a chance to go for it and he scrambled for a couple of yards and a punt. He did let it rip a bit more late in the game, but was inconsistent at best. He had the worst PFF grade on the team, 38.1.
The LTs – The pass blocking from the left tackle spot was atrocious. It was Dakota Dozier level play at LT. Rashad Hill does not give me confidence as the starter at LT. He is very inconsistent and proves why he has never been a dependable starter in this league. He is a decent backup that can come in and play in spurts, but he is not someone I would want to rely on. Overall PFF grade of 45.8 and a pass blocking grade of 18.6. He allowed one sack to rookie Kwity Paye where he got smoked. Blake Brandel was somehow worse and against the backups and depth players. He gave up five pressures and was beat like a drum on a Hail Mary play at the end of the first half. His PFF grade was 39.4 with a 25.1 pass blocking grade. Darrisaw needs to come back in a hurry. Here’s hoping somehow Darrisaw is ready to go early. The bye week is Week 7. That’s probably the most realistic spot if the Vikings decide to make a change and put Darrisaw in for Hill. That is of course, if Darrisaw can get healthy.
Left tackle looks like an issue without Christian Darrisaw:— Will Ragatz (@WillRagatz) August 22, 2021
Blake Brandel: 25.1 pass blocking grade, 5 pressures allowed
Rashod Hill: 18.6 pass blocking grade, 1 sack allowed
Overall, it was ok. There weren’t any significant injuries that I noticed. Thielen limped off with a bruise, but I have a feeling he would’ve kept going if this was the regular season. The offense looks pathetic without the top skill players in and their leader was completely disinterested in Saturday’s game. The defense played fairly well against mediocre competition. It’s hard to take too much away from the preseason, but it just keeps that memory of a slow performance alive in the back of everyone’s minds. I think Zimmer summed it up best after the game. “Offensively, it’s still a work in progress. We don’t really have much rhythm going on there.”
Link to the highlights on YouTube.