Remember when the third preseason game was called “Dress Rehearsal”?
Oh how young and stupid we were!
Wait, never mind, it was still happening in Minnesota until last year.
But what about last year? In sports and in life, sometimes we don’t realize how wild something was until we’ve had enough time to look back and think about it.
With that in mind, I calmly enter Game 3 of the Vikings’ preseason. A year ago, when the Vikings traveled to Kansas City to play their final preseason game of the year, there were several moments that signaled turbulence heading into the 2021 season.
Some people may have blocked all of this, so hit the refresh button. The offense really struggled to put it together as Kirk Cousins missed time during training camp due to COVID close contact and Mike Zimmer decided to play his starter with the Chiefs The right guard right after the start — now a backup right tackle for the Vikings who may not even make the roster — misled the Chiefs blitz and slapped Cousins in the face for a sack. rice field.
It’s unclear if Kevin O’Connell won’t face Cousins in Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos, but given that Cousins didn’t appear in his only preseason home game, it’s unlikely. It seems. In hindsight, it seems kind of bad that starting he nearly took his head off by playing QB and getting a few more vanilla reps.
Cousins survived the hit in Kansas City, but Irv Smith Jr. was stuck in last year’s “most important” preseason third game. He suffered a season-ending knee injury. His teammates, after watching Smith Jr.’s great training his camp, were as upset as Teddy with his post-Bridgewater injury. Perhaps part of their frustration was the nonsensical nature of him performing that night.
Everson Griffen was great against Kansas City. The Vikings signed Griffen late in the camp as their hopes of developing other defensive objectives early in the camp were dashed. He blew the door out of some poor backup Chiefs lineup and saw his lightning quick burst from the line of scrimmage, so there was no question he was going to be the old Everson, but the Vikings. Although they were hoping and praying that someone could play across from Daniel Hunter, it didn’t bode well. It spoke to the mismanagement of the entire roster on the failed draft picks they always seemed to insist on.
After the game against the Chiefs, Zimmer admitted the team had a lot of problems if someone got hurt. Should I say. Everyone, get your tickets now!
It was all pretty nuts, right?
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A year later, the Vikings are unlikely to put their most important players in jeopardy. I won’t tell anyone how much they would have failed if they hadn’t.
Instead, a punt-off takes place. No, seriously. Special Teams coordinator Matt Daniels says it’s not yet decided who will be the punter between Jordan Berry and Ryan Wright, so they’ll be competing in the final preseason game to see who can punt better. He also admitted that kicker Greg Joseph has a say in which player is the better retainer. Anything is a big deal.
Another story we’ll be watching is whether or not Kellen Mondo will perform. Or do we have a showcase for the good old days? There was no showcase for the Vikings trying to sell Laquon Treadwell on the open market and no offers.
There are other things worth noting. The punt return situation was a roller coaster. Depth receivers can make the last case for roster spots. TY McGill’s story swept parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Will first-round pick Louis Sine play after missing some practices this week? Will someone in the draft class give the team reason to believe they can be the future? Ty Chandler or Brian・Asamoah? Can anyone in the 2021 draft class make the final push?
So there is something to see. A Google search for ‘Vikings preseason finale highlights’ yields several results. But about ten minutes after this Saturday night game, you probably won’t remember it, unlike last year, when the last preseason game was little more than the next insane dress rehearsal.
Does that mean the 2022 season will be better? Do you know. ESPN thinks otherwise, ranking the Vikings 23rd in their power rankings. The Draft Kings are over-under with 9 wins and are slightly weighted towards under. It’s not that different.
Still, it feels different. It doesn’t look like things are falling apart. There are some intrigues about new attacks and defenses. There are schedules for teams like Chicago, New Orleans, and the Jets/Giants that haven’t had the best training camps. Even before reaching the first week there were no disasters. But it’s not a bad sign, especially since last year when we saw what a bad sign looked like at camp.
So Saturday night is your last chance to relax and experience the Vikings before the regular season. Enjoy the punt-off and the last shades of summer. And only the soccer gods know why, so take a look back at how we made this preseason game in a big way.
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