The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 Sunday night to open the preseason. With teams mainly playing back ups and not exactly playing to win, let’s just focus on the who played well and who didn’t last night.
LB Gerald Hodges
Hodges was all over the field making tackles and plays. As someone who played very well down the stretch last season, it seems obvious the Vikings should start him at outside linebacker.
QB Mike Kafka
Even though Kafka looks like someone replaced an NFL quarterback with some bald middle aged guy off the street with a weak arm, Kafka was accurate and effective. Going 7 of 10 for 66 yards and a touchdown, he had the best performance of all the Vikings quarterbacks. He seems to be in a tight race with the rookie Tyler Heinicke for the 3rd string spot.
TE Mycole Pruitt
Pruitt flashed his combine best speed 4.58 forty in a shining preseason performance. Catching four balls for 51 yards and a touchdown, he looks like he could earn some minutes this year when the Vikings want another pass catching tight end to pair with Rudolph.
WR Stephon Diggs
Much like Pruitt, both rookies possess 1st class speed for their positions. Not just a receiver, Diggs was electric in the return game. Returning a punt 62 yards to the one-yard line, he set up the final touchdown of the game. With Sherels potentially missing the cut a cornerback and being less explosive than Diggs, expect Diggs to earn the starting return spots by the first game of the regular season.
Not a single injury occurred! Though teammates were sure to pick up Kyle Rudolph as he left the field just in case.
CB Trae Waynes
Waynes got burned deep a couple times, usually on a double move, and he had an holding call that nearly led to a touchdown for the Steelers. He’s rookie trying to adjust to the NFL at one of the hardest positions to adjust to, so this doesn’t mean too much. He has all the talent to be a #1 corner in this league, with more experience and work on turning his hips he can achieve that goal.
P Jeff Locke
For a guy who is coming off a bad year, it was a bad time to have an off night for my man O.G. Locke. His punting average was a measly 36.5 yards per punt, and his long punt of 58 yards went into the end zone. He may be young and cheap, but the Vikings may need to bring in some competition to challenge Locke.
TE Chase Ford
Whereas Pruitt is on the up and up at the tight end spot, Ford is on the way down. He made a bad drop that led to an interception in this game. As the back tight end who specializes more in catching the ball, it was bad timing on a night when Pruitt looks to be the better and more explosive pass catching tight end. Ford is in danger of being cut unless he steps it up in these next couple preseason games.