Minnesota found some players
The Vikings intentionally sat their starters on both sides of the football during their second preseason game. As mentioned above, this led to some rough football to watch, but it also allowed some lesser-known players to get a moment in the spotlight.
A few players seized this moment and Minnesota found some dawgs on this team that they may not have realized prior to this.
There were three players who really stood out and they were all on the defensive side of the football.
The first is a guy who has had a very solid preseason and camp, and that’s Patrick Jones II. Jones has been a beast rushing the passer. He is explosive off the edge, and while he isn’t always the first one hitting the quarterback, he is the one causing the protection to break down, allowing his teammate to get home.
Jones won’t be starting this season, but he should see significant reps as he comes in to relieve both Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith each week. From what we have seen from him so far, Minnesota’s pass rush shouldn’t take too much of a dip when he’s in there.
Another Vikings player who got a long look on Saturday night was rookie cornerback Akayleb Evans. Evans played the majority of the game and showed that he’s a very willing hitter. He ended the night with an impressive 10 tackles, showing the eagerness to come up and lay a hit on no matter who was carrying the rock. He did tire late, but overall his coverage was solid.
Evans is a little buried on the depth chart, but the team should feel good if they need to call on him at some point during the season.
The final dawg Minnesota found on Saturday was defensive tackle T.Y. McGill. McGill was coming off a two-sack game against the Raiders, so maybe he wasn’t “found” on Saturday, but he did back up that game with another monster performance against San Francisco.
McGill had 1.5 sacks against the 49ers and was constantly creating interior pressure, making life hard for San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy and company. McGill has done more with his reps than anyone on the team, and it would be a shock at this point if he doesn’t make the final 53-man roster.