Football is back! The Vikings lost their first preseason game 26-20 to the Las Vegas Raiders, but who cares? We got to watch live Vikings football. So now let’s overreact! Here are 5 overreactions from our first preseason game.
Overreaction #1: Kellen Mond Won The Backup QB Job
On Sunday, Kellen Mond threw for 119 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders. Sean Mannion, his competitor for the backup QB spot on the Vikings, threw for just 79 yards and had no scores. But it wasn’t just the stats that set Mond apart. He looked relatively comfortable in the pocket, and his TD pass to Albert Wilson was a dime.
Granted, this was against backups, and Wilson was very open, but a great pass regardless. And he wasn’t perfect. He had one terribly missed throw into the endzone, and it would be generous to say he was completely comfortable in the pocket all of the time. On one of his drives, he basically handed the ball off every play, so I’m not ready to say he’ll challenge Kirk for starts. Nonetheless, he at least looked lively and showed some playmaking prowess. Mannion did not spark the offense quite as much. It will be fun to watch these two continue to vie for the second-string position throughout the pre-season.
Overreaction #2: Trishton Jackson Solidified A Roster Spot
Jackson is competing with 8 other players for WR roster spots after Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn. We don’t know exactly how many WRs will be kept, but Trishton Jackson gave himself a chance after his performance in Vegas.
While he only made 2 catches on 3 targets for 26 yards, he looked capable of making plays. He was good after the catch, and for what it’s worth, he looked a half-step quicker than the defenders. Again, these were plays against backups, and it is a very small sample size, but he passed my eye test. For the moment, at least.
Overreaction #3: Ty Chandler Is Now Ahead of Kene Nwangwu On The Depth Chart
This is an overreaction because I believe Nwangwu did a lot to carve out a role on this team last year. Nwangwu was a solid kick returner for us and had some splashy plays in limited snaps as a rusher.
But Ty Chandler looked awesome on Sunday against the Raiders. He was patient, yet assertive when carrying the ball. He finished runs like a seasoned pro, and he looked to have enough speed to break the game open. Speaking of which, here is his 55-yard return.
If he proves to be the better runner, the Vikings may also decide he is competent enough as a return man to give him the nod over Nwangwu, and that could potentially mean Nwangwu gets cut.
Overreaction #4: Greg Joseph Is On A Path To The Pro Bowl
Greg Joseph has been lights out in training camp and now has carried that momentum into the preseason. He went 2/2 on FGs and 2/2 on XPs against the Raiders. Last year he went 33/38 on FGs overall and went 36/40 on extra points.
Now that Zimmer is gone, Joseph will be poised and consistent throughout the year. I’m predicting at least three game-winning field goals during the regular season, and Pro Bowl-caliber stats as he contributes to our playoff berth.
Vikings 2022 Season Record Prediction; Big Wins and Bad Losses
Overreaction #5: The Vikings Have A Legitimate Run Defense This Year
Last season saw the Vikings give up an average of 130.7 yards per game. This was good for an abysmal ranking of 26th best in the league. On paper, it doesn’t look like we’ve improved, as the Raiders rushed for 140 yards in the game on Sunday.
But I chose to focus on our DL room. Harrison Phillips and Dalvin Tomlinson looked solid in limited minutes. Armon Watts caught my attention as well, and T.Y. McGill recorded two sacks. Additionally, Lewis Cine made himself a presence at the line, and I love everything about our linebackers and EDGE rushers.
Again, it seems silly even as an overreaction, but I’m excited about our defense this year.
Other Takeaways From Preseason Week One
Brian Asamoah was exciting to watch, even though he didn’t do a whole lot. I want him to beef up just a bit, and I think we have an elite complementary LB. I think he can make an impact when used strategically with any combination of Jordan Hicks, Eric Kendricks, and Troy Dye.
My guy Akayleb Evans looked a bit timid on Sunday afternoon. I still believe in him, but I felt I could notice the first-game jitters. I’ll be looking for a more aggressive Evans in preseason Week Two.
While I am encouraged by Greg Joseph, I don’t know why we don’t go for it more on fourth down in the preseason. I know every unit needs reps, but to me, it would be more important for our offensive guys to get in another play than to kick a FG.
I was reminded why I have a love/hate relationship with preseason football. While I love that Vikings football is back, I hate getting excited about players who may not even make the team. Regardless, it now officially feels like football season. The game itself wasn’t overly exciting, but that didn’t stop me from overreacting!
What do you think? Who stood out to you? Who are you worried about? Let me know, @Jlime8 on Twitter.
#ArmonWatts #AdamThielen #GregJoseph #KJOsborn #JordanHicks #KirkCousins #TroyDye #AlbertWilson #TYMcGill #JustinJefferson #TyChandler #NFL #KeneNwangwu #LewisCine #HarrisonPhillips #EricKendricks #AkaylebEvans #MinnesotaVikings #Seanmannion #BrianAsomoah #KellenMond #Vikings #DalvinTomlinson