Vikings vs Cardinals Preseason Impressions: Offense


The Minnesota Vikings were victorious against the Arizona Cardinals in their second preseason contest on Saturday night.  While it is always nice to get a victory, there were some things that the team needs to improve upon and some other things that were executed very well.

I will break the game down into three separate sections to discuss them.  First is the offensive side of the ball.  Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly from the offensive side of the ball:

The Good

Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback

Matt Cassel

(16) passes before the game against the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Play Was Fantastic.  Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater were absolutely on fire last night.  The two passers combined for a stat line of 28 completions on 36 attempts for 330 yards and three touchdowns with zero turnovers.  Both Vikings quarterbacks looked poised on the field and had success against a tough Arizona defense.  While Matt Cassel is still ahead in the race to be Minnesota’s starting quarterback, it doesn’t look like we’ll be forgetting about Teddy Bridgewater any time soon after that improbable game winning drive.

Both Rodney Smith And Adam Thielen Impressed.  In my opinion, Adam Thielen already earned himself a roster spot, but he solidified his spot on the team with a solid performance in this game.  The big surprise was the rapport that Rodney Smith had with Teddy Bridgewater on the final drive of the game.  If the Vikings do bring 6 wide receivers with them to the 53 man roster, I fully expect Rodney Smith to make the cut.

The Bad

Aug 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end

Kyle Rudolph

(82) misses a pass in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Too Many Dropped Passes.  Maybe it wasn’t the number of drops as much as where they happened.  Both tight end Kyle Rudolph and wide receiver Adam Thielen found touchdown passes bounce off their hands and fall incomplete.  In a league where points are extremely valuable, the Vikings can’t settle for field goal attempts.  That’s especially true when one of the players dropping a pass just signed a hefty extension this offseason.

The Running Game Was Nearly Non-Existent.  The running backs really struggled this game.  Aside from one really nice 56 yard scamper from Joe Banyard, the Vikings running backs had 19 rushing attempts that got only 31 yards.  Rookie Jerick McKinnon only found himself with one carry that ended with -3 yards and Matt Asiata averaged less than 2 yards per carry.  While none of these guys are Adrian Peterson, it would be nice to have a bit more confidence in the players that will be behind him on the depth chart.

The Ugly

Christian Ponder Was Completely Left Out.  That’s right.  The former first round pick in 2011 was on the sidelines for the entire contest and didn’t even take a snap.  This is bad news for Ponder and his remaining fans out there because it shows that he has essentially been removed from the quarterback competition.  The only question now is whether or not Ponder will remain with the team as a third quarterback or he will find himself released for a younger player to compete at a different position.