How did the Minnesota Vikings perform in their first-ever preseason matchup of the Kevin O’Connell era against the Las Vegas Raiders?
Sunday marked the debut of the Minnesota Vikings in an actual game with Kevin O’Connell as their head coach. Okay, it was only a preseason matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, but Vikings fans around the country were able to get their first look at how different their favorite team will look with a brand new coaching staff leading the way.
Most of Minnesota’s top players like Justin Jefferson, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Smith didn’t take the field, but we were still able to learn plenty about the Vikings during a 26-20 loss to the Raiders on Sunday.
Quick thoughts on Minnesota’s loss to Las Vegas
Vikings begin the contest with a letdown: On the very first play of the game, Minnesota wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette took a kickoff and returned it more than 50 yards. Unfortunately, the play was called back after Vikings rookie linebacker Zach McCloud was flagged for offensive holding.
Chandler makes up for it in the second half: After Smith-Marsette’s impressive kickoff return was negated by a penalty in the first half, Minnesota rookie running back Ty Chandler made up for the disappointment with a 56-yard kickoff return of his own in the third quarter.
With how successful the Vikings’ kickoff return unit was on Sunday, their opponents should definitely be worried when Kene Nwangwu takes over as Minnesota’s kick returner once the regular season begins.