Observation Deck: Minnesota Vikings

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
11:01
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- After two weeks of training camp showed how much command Teddy Bridgewater already has of the Minnesota Vikings' offense, his preseason debut with the team served as a reminder he's still a rookie.

The quarterback completed six of his 13 passes for 49 yards in the Vikings' 10-6 win over the Oakland Raiders and was also sacked twice. He had a 21-yard pass to Greg Jennings wiped out by an illegal formation on his first play but also had a fumble recovered by tackle Matt Kalil at the Raiders' 20, allowing the Vikings to keep Bridgewater's opening drive alive for a field goal. It was an uneven performance by the first-round pick, but at this point those should be expected.

Here are some other thoughts on the Vikings' first game of the year:
  • Jerick McKinnon had an impressive night in his first game at running back -- in several facets. He carried 12 times for 45 yards, gaining 36 of them on his first six carries, held up well in pass protection against a couple of rushing defensive linemen and laid out a Raiders defensive back with a downfield block on Cordarrelle Patterson's 13-yard reception in the first quarter.
  • The Vikings' secondary looked depleted at the beginning of the night, with Robert Blanton (hamstring) and Jamarca Sanford (back spasms) among the players who didn't dress. But Marcus Sherels, who missed practice Wednesday, also sat out, and Mistral Raymond left with a concussion early in the game. The losses at safety, in particular, opened up room for Kurt Coleman, who started the game at free safety alongside Harrison Smith and intercepted a pass along the sideline after Derek Carr's off-balance screen bounced off the hands of running back Jamize Olawale.
  • Anthony Barr played into the second half at linebacker and wound up with a half-sack in the first half, after Tom Johnson flushed Matt Schaub up in the pocket. Barr worked to shed his blocker and met Johnson at the quarterback late in the down.
  • Adam Thielen continued to build on an impressive training camp, particularly on special teams. He returned three punts for 52 yards and tackled Denarius Moore for a 4-yard loss on a punt return to end the first half. He caught one pass for 15 yards on an out route and dropped another, but his work on special teams allowed him to distinguish himself again.
  • Speaking of special teams, Gerald Hodges helped himself there in the fourth quarter, blocking a 44-yard Raiders field goal a series before he notched a tackle for a 2-yard loss. The poor Raiders kicker whose kick Hodges deflected, who became the first NFL kicker to have a field goal blocked at TCF Bank Stadium? That would be the free agent they signed this week, by the name of Kevin Goessling. Oh, the indignity.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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