The Minnesota Vikings lost their first preseason game against the Houston Texans 27-13 on Friday. The first three quarters were a close, hard fought game, but once the deep reserves hit the field in the fourth quarter the Texans pulled away with two touchdowns.
Christian Ponder played the first series which ended with an interception off of a tipped pass intended for Jerome Simpson. His backup, Matt Cassel played the majority of the ball game and was efficient with 212 yards on 12 completions. He found a lot of success with rookie receiver Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson left the game with 4 receptions for 54 yards. He took the opening kick back 50 yards proving the explosive capabilities he possesses.
The Vikings passing game looked like it improved since last season even without Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings in the lineup. It will be interesting to see how the offense picks up when Ponder gets more snaps at the helm. Vikings fans need to sit tight and know that Ponder is the starter. Cassel’s great play in the first game will not hinder Ponder’s role going forward.
The biggest play of the game for Minnesota was the 61-yard screen pass from Cassel to running back Zach Line for a touchdown in the second quarter. Line has been making a lot of progress in camp and is proving his worth. Unfortunately he sits behind the best running back ever and Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart. I don’t see him jumping either back on the depth chart which leaves him at the third running back spot.
Another player that shined in the first preseason game was Stephen Burton, who had a 56-yard reception before finishing with 67 yards and three receptions. The receiving corps is looking for someone to step up and take charge of the unit while Greg Jennings is off the field.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd injured his knee during the game after a solid performance. Floyd deflected a pass and had a tackle for a loss before the injury. The MRI Floyd received today showed no major damage to his injured left knee. His status is unknown for practice this week and his playing time in the next game will suffer.
The biggest worry I had was how the secondary was beaten by DeAndre Hopkins on many occasions. Hopefully they have an easier time covering athletic receivers before the season starts. That is always something the secondary struggles with.
The Vikings(0-1) head to Buffalo to face the (1-0)Bills on Friday night at 7PM ET.