Minnesota Vikings: Preseason begins with 14-3 win over Steelers


Stefon Diggs gave us a thrill. Teddy Bridgewater gave us a taste. Trae Waynes gave us a reminder that he has a lot of work to do. And the Minnesota Vikings came away with 14-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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And so the preseason is underway.

If you insist on breaking down individual performances in preseason games, I guess you have to start with the rookie Waynes, who looked every bit like a man appearing in his first-ever NFL game.

Two issues cropped up with Waynes that were also there in the scouting reports pre-draft: struggles in off-coverage and a tendency to grab onto receivers. Waynes was called for three flags and looked awkward in his back pedal on a couple of occasions.

So Mike Zimmer knows what his rookie 1st round corner has to work on.

Turning to the positives: Rookie MyCole Pruitt showed off his receiving and blocking skills, and took advantage of a broken coverage to score the game’s first TD.

No Pruitt, you won’t be this open every time (GIF via The Cauldron).

After Pruitt’s performance, you have to rank him firmly as the #2 tight end. If he wasn’t that already.

And then there was training camp sensation Stefon Diggs. Just to prove the hype is legit, Diggs nearly housed a punt. Is Marcus Sherels in some trouble now?

The list of guys who helped themselves tonight has to include CB Jabari Price, DT Shamar Stephen and LB Brian Peters.

A few more quick points:

I wish I could say one of the safeties showed up big but that wasn’t really the case. That situation remains a big mess.

Justin Trattou and Danielle Hunter showed up on the D-line and Eric Kendricks had a couple of nice blitzes.

The long snapper competition seemed to go Cullen Loeffler’s way. Blair Walsh missed a field goal and Jeff Locke had a couple of shaky punts.

Teddy Bridgewater looked fine in a small sample. Encouraging note: He hit Kyle Rudolph on a couple of good plays. Mike Kafka and Taylor Heinicke both got extended time and neither did much that was noteworthy.

Gerald Hodges and Audie Cole both got extended looks with Anthony Barr back in Minnesota and Chad Greenway only playing a few snaps.

Tom Johnson looked quick playing largely against backup offensive linemen.

Jerick McKinnon put one sweet move on a defender early in the game and then sat.

In the end, we got through it. We survived preseason game 1. Next week, Tampa Bay.

Next: Mike Zimmer still questioning Patterson

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