This preseason we’ve seen a lot of things from the Minnesota Vikings. We’ve seen great catches from guys like Chase Ford and Charles Johnson, some bad plays like poor coverage from Trae Waynes and Terence Newman, and even the drama of losing a cornerstone of the team like Phil Loadholt for the season.
However, the one thing that many Minnesota Vikings fans really want to see is something that hasn’t happened yet, but has been teased ever since this offseason: the long pass.
When the team traded for wide receiver Mike Wallace this offseason, things were expected to improve immediately as far as the deep passing game. In addition, the presence of a deep threat was supposed to make things easier for the running backs to gain some more yards because of the stretched defense. Sadly, we haven’t seen either of those things happen yet.
“Yeah, I want to see one, too,” Wallace told the Pioneer Press when asked about the lack of a deep pass so far this preseason. So far, he’s been a non-factor in games, accumulating one catch for two yards.
While part of Wallace sounds disappointed about his lack of production so far, there’s another side of him that is excited about the idea of exploding onto the scene with the 2015 NFL regular season begins.
"“It’s kind of like 50-50,” Wallace said. “I want to give them something, but at the same time you want it to be kaboom when the regular season starts. But you kind of want to get it cranked up, so hopefully we’ll get something going this week.”"
Aug 15, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 2 yards in the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
In order for Mike Wallace to really get things going, he’ll need the help of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. So far, Bridgewater has only targeted Wallace on 4 passes this preseason, with two of those being low passes which would have been challenging catches.
The Minnesota Vikings and Bridgewater both know the importance of getting Wallace involved in the team’s offense. When used properly, his presence alone could force opposing defenses into planning for the long ball.
"“We do want to get Mike going heading into the regular season,” Bridgewater said. “He’s a guy who’s going to be huge for us in the pass game and the run game, and it’s going to force teams to give us different looks this year. So we definitely want to get him going whether it’s this week or definitely heading into Week 1 (of the regular season).’’"
Saturday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys might be the last chance for these two guys to get on the same page before the regular season. Historically, the final game of the preseason sees the starters resting while the team tries to figure out the final pieces of the roster and who will join the practice squad.
Personally, I’m still hoping to see that one deep pass this preseason to help strike fear into the hearts of defenses. But I won’t complain if that doesn’t happen until week one of the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers, either.
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