The Minnesota Vikings wound up in the win column against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, but the first-team lacked energy throughout the game.
The Minnesota Vikings took part in their third preseason game on Saturday afternoon and if their performance against the Arizona Cardinals was any indication, it might be a long season.
That’s not to say that everything didn’t go the Vikings way during the matchups as Kyle Sloter and Olabisi Johnson had big efforts to help Minnesota come away with a 20-9 victory. When it came to the first-team offense, however, there just seemed to be something missing.
In a game that Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith both sat out for precautionary reasons, there figured to be a little bit of a step back. But the Vikings just looked like they wanted to be somewhere other than U.S. Bank Stadium throughout the first half.
No position showed that more than the play that Kirk Cousins put forth on Saturday, where the offensive line allowed the Cardinals to pressure the Vikings’ quarterback and put him on the ground for a pair of sacks during a 3-for-13 for 35-yard passing performance.
While Cousins struggled, there was no such concern with running back Dalvin Cook. Making his 2019 preseason debut after sitting out the first two exhibition games, Cook showed why he should thrive in Kevin Stefanski’s new offensive scheme, cutting back for an 85-yard touchdown run before his afternoon came to a conclusion.
Cook was the lone bright spot for the Vikings offense in the first half as the first-team generated just 45 yards of total offense outside of that play.
Minnesota’s starting offense put together their best drive of the afternoon during the final minutes of the first half, but Kaare Vedvik sent a 43-yard field goal attempt wide left to give the Cardinals a 9-7 lead heading into halftime.
Things would come to a standstill in the second half as Sean Mannion turned in another uninspiring performance with the second-team offense (6-for-9, 57 passing yards) and he led a drive that turned into a second missed field goal by Vedvik from 54 yards out before giving way to Sloter.
From there, Sloter did what he does best in dominating the preseason, leading the Vikings on their first touchdown drive of the second half thanks to a Mike Boone seven-yard touchdown run. Sloter also appeared to connect with Olabisi Johnson on a two-point conversion, but that was ruled incomplete and upheld by a replay review.
Sloter would lead one more scoring drive on the afternoon, finding Khari Blasingame for a 15-yard touchdown reception late in the game to give the Vikings a 20-9 lead.
Sloter’s finished the day by going 6-for-7 for 102 yards and a touchdown, which should intensify the talk of at least giving him a chance with the second team in the preseason finale against Buffalo next week.
The Vikings will close out their preseason with a trip to meet the Bills next Thursday night with a kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.