More good stuff
The Minnesota Vikings came out and had some great game-planning for what was a rather vanilla offense. Their use of play-action combined with screens and passes to the flat and strong runs using tight ends and fullbacks opened up the middle of the field as well as the deep passes for pass catchers.
Of course, that does rely on the blocking of the team, which looked surprisingly solid. Rookie center Garrett Bradbury looked the part on this team but it would have been nice to see starting right tackle Brian O’Neill in action to get a feel for the starting unit as a whole. If this is a sign of how the line will look this season, fans should be encouraged.
Defensively, there were mistakes on defense, but the dynamic offense of the Saints is a tough challenge for any team. The first team offense made a great goal-line stand to keep New Orleans from scoring a touchdown, showing that the defense might bend, but they refuse to break.
It would be disappointing not to talk about how great the long pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen is. The wide receiver routinely makes some of the toughest catches in the league and fights hard for positioning before the ball even gets to him.
Players who made a great impression:
- Alexander Mattison showing off versatility. Whether he was blasting through the line or catching passes, Mattison got the start in place of Dalvin Cook and looked like the kind of player who could be relied on to handle a workload if need be.
- Hercules Mata’afa looking strong. Showcasing his speed, power, and low center of gravity, the big defensive tackle had a great outing. He had three tackles, all solo, including one sack and two hits on the opposing quarterback. Fans have to be happy for his comeback story so far.
- Ifeadi Odenigbo impressing. His sack might not have counted but he made the most of his time by getting pressures and getting to the ball. He had three tackles on the day and would have had even better stats if penalties didn’t wipe them out.
- Bisi Johnson making impressive plays. There has been a lot of talk about many Minnesota Vikings wide receivers, but Olabisi Johnson hauled in two great passes, including a ball thrown high and a contested touchdown which totaled 35 yards.
- Jalyn Holmes being everywhere. It was his hand that tipped the pass which ended up going for a 30-yard Nate Meadors pick-six. He registered four tackles, all four solo, and one sack on the Saints’ quarterback. He looks like a hugely improved player from last year.