The Minnesota Vikings rested their starters in the 2019 season finale and a lot of rookies got extended playing time. How did they fare?
To be healthier for the playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings gave most of their starters time to rest during their Week 17 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
This gave a lot of the Vikings’ young players a chance to shine. Just about all of Minnesota’s rookies contributed in some form or another in the season finale. Some guys were active for the first time all year. While others, who have been bit players all season long, got many more reps than normal each week.
We will start with the offensive side of the football for the Vikings. Rookie center Garrett Bradbury got the start again and he played much better than he did against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16.
Minnesota running back Mike Boone was able to bust off some long runs and that had a lot to do with the blocking up front. The pass protection was decent too, as Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion wasn’t under a ton of duress.
Bradbury wasn’t the only rookie offensive lineman to play on Sunday as Oli Udoh and Dru Samia both got some time out on the field. Both Udoh and Samia played well against the Bears, helping the Minnesota run game work well all day and giving Mannion plenty of time in the pocket.
These are a couple of guys who will look to move up the depth chart in their second seasons and getting some experience against Chicago could do wonders for their development.
Vikings rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. got the start on Sunday, but he had just one catch that went for 11 yards. Smith’s production had a lot to do with the sub-par play of Mannion, who was off all day.
Bisi Johnson began the game as Minnesota’s No. 1 receiver against the Bears. The rookie was targeted four times and he caught three balls for 34 yards.
Undrafted rookie receiver Alexander Hollins also got some extended playing time in Week 17. Hollins has been active for the Vikings’ last few games and he has seen a target here and there. This week, he led Minnesota in receiving with 46 yards on his first two career catches. He did have a drop inside the red zone, but overall, it was a solid performance for the Hollins on Sunday.