Grading the Minnesota Vikings performance in the 2021 preseason

(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Cameron Dantzler
(Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Cameron Dantzler /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Joseph /

Special Teams

  • Grade: B-

The Vikings’ special teams unit was a little better than their offense and defense. Things got off to a rough start when Britton Colquitt struggled badly against the Denver Broncos. He had a paltry 40.5-yard average and received a harsh tongue-lashing from head coach Mike Zimmer at halftime.

Greg Joseph was also mediocre. The supposed Minnesota opening day kicker was 4-of-6 kicking, missing kicks that would’ve given the team a victory or a tie. It’s unclear at this point whether that was enough to make the team look elsewhere, but his performance in practice has also been up and down, so perhaps they make a move.

The positives when it comes to the Vikings’ special teams are that Britton Colquitt has performed much better since his embarrassment against Denver. He averaged 46.1 yards a punt in the game against the Colts and 47.8 against the Chiefs and dropped four punts inside the twenty in those contests.

Another positive was the performance of Ihmir Smith-Marsette as the return man. He broke out with 63 kick return yards against the Colts and 76 against the Chiefs. He also added a little as a punt returner, showing great vision and wiggle. That performance could lead the team to believe that Dede Westbrook could be expendable, freeing up a spot on the roster to be used elsewhere.

The Vikings’ special teams unit wasn’t great this preseason, but they did get better as the games wore on, giving the team some promise at a few key positions.