The Vikings played the San Diego Chargers in week three of the preseason. Who looked good? Who looked like they could use some improvement?
Week three of the preseason is without a doubt the most important game that doesn’t matter. The third preseason game is when the starters get the most playing time, and is considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The Vikings came away with a 23-10 victory, and there was plenty to be pleased about.
Here are some initial impressions following the conclusion of the game:
Teddy Bridgewater finished the first half by completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards, a touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 127.3. The best part of his day was at the end of the first half, when Teddy drove the team down the field and fired a bullet to Kyle Rudolph for a touchdown. Bridgewater also had a phenomenal 22-yard scamper, juking a defender in the process.
With Xavier Rhodes sitting out, Trae Waynes was given the start and he didn’t disappoint, providing excellent coverage and solid tackling. Mackenzie Alexander and Jayron Kearse also had productive days, with each grabbing one of the Vikings’ three interceptions on the day (Harrison Smith had the other). All in all it was a great day for the Vikings’ young defensive backs and the future is certainly bright.
Jerick McKinnon got the start with Adrian Peterson sitting out, and he made the most of his opportunity. On one play, the Vikings’ offensive line opened up a giant hole and Jerick was able to turn on the jets for a 35-yard gain. Perhaps the best play of the day for McKinnon was on third down, when he was stopped a few yards behind the line of scrimmage but kept his legs churning and was able to move the chains.
Kyle Rudolph was able to snag a touchdown pass, but that was the only positive thing he did on the day. Rudolph gave a half-hearted attempt at a catch early in the game where he lazily extended one hand when he should have laid out to ensure the completion. His blocking was poor, and he also had a fumble in the first half. The Vikings need more from their starting tight end.
The Vikings’ run defense was also an area of concern. Melvin Gordon received four carries against the Vikings’ starting defense and rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers were down for most of the game, so they only had 25 rushing attempts, but the Vikings have given up 4.5 yards per throughout the preseason, so that will need to be fixed before playing the Titans in week one.
The extra point
The Vikings’ new home, US Bank Stadium, is gorgeous. There will certainly be some bugs to work out, but the first Vikings’ game seemed to go off without a hitch. I, for one, am excited to see it in person.