Top 5 takeaways from the Minnesota Vikings preseason opener

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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U.S Bank Stadium Should Be Sack Central

There was unquestionably one area of the Vikings defense which performed to a high standard all night long during the preseason opener. Led by the “Sack Daddy” Everson Griffen, the pass rush made the pocket an uncomfortable place for whoever was under center for the Bills.

Despite only totaling 3 sacks the Vikings hit the Bills quarterbacks 11 times. The pressure they created throughout the game demonstrated tremendous depth which will be sorely needed over the course of the regular season.

Fresh of signing his new extension Everson Griffen led the way, supported by Minnesota’s 2016 sack leader Danielle Hunter, with a sack of Tyrod Taylor on the first defensive series  after walking Bills’ left tackle Cody Glenn into his own quarterback.

At times it seemed as though Griffen & Hunter were having a personal competition to see who could hit Taylor first. On one play the two practically met on top of Taylor only for him miraculously escape and break into a successful scramble. You can check out some their impressive plays below.

Once the Minnesota Vikings star defensive ends made their way to the bench the rest of the pass rushers had a chance to shine. 4th round selection Jaleel Johnson made his presence felt up the middle in the third quarter, sacking T.J Yates and hitting the opposing quarterback on another 2 occasions.

Although Horace Richardson wasn’t able to snag himself a sack, the undrafted defensive back was very effective in some creative blitz packages generating 3 quarterback hits. Richardson certainly made the most of the opportunities presented to him, making a case for a spot on the roster.

Most remarkable of all may have been the performance of undrafted rookie Tashawn Bower. The former LSU Tiger demonstrated great athleticism and tenacity when he entered the game using his speed and power to gain a sack, tackle for a loss, pass deflection and 2 quarterback hits. Given the quality of the offensive lineman he was facing, it safe to say Bower is far from the finished article but at the very least he presents Mike Zimmer and co with a talented project to develop.  The folks at Pro Football Focus were certainly enamored, below you can see why.

With the rest of the Vikings’ defense providing an uninspiring performance it was refreshing to see a crucial part of Minnesota’s strategy pay off. Based on this showing there won’t be to many offensive lines who can cope with the creativity of the play calling and the skill of the edge rushers Minnesota posses.