Sunday, August 21, 2011
Preseason: Slow and steady for Vikings
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Saturday's action at CenturyLink Field:
Minnesota Vikings 20, Seattle Seahawks 7
Preseason record: 1-1
Of interest: A fumbled punt return and a defensive touchdown left the Vikings' first-team offense with one possession, a three-out and-out, in the first quarter. Its second drive was more encouraging, an 82-yard jaunt that began at the Vikings' 1-yard line and ended with Ryan Longwell's 36-yard field goal. Starters have produced three points in two games for the Vikings, but quarterback Donovan McNabb without question got in a groove in Saturday's second possession. His 20-yard timing pass to receiver Michael Jenkins was especially noteworthy. ... Second-year cornerback Marcus Sherels fumbled the aforementioned punt return, but he made up for it by intercepting a tipped Tarvaris Jackson pass and dashing 64 yards for a touchdown. ... One concern: Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock got a free lane to sack McNabb when left tackle Charlie Johnson missed his assignment. ... The same thing happened to Vikings defensive end Jared Allen in the first quarter, but he missed a free shot on Jackson. ... Other than that, the starting defense had a nice night. Jackson was under pressure and couldn't establish any timing even when running his usual plate of bootlegs and screens. ... The second-team defense also had a powerful goal-line stand in the second quarter, stuffing four consecutive goal-to-goal runs. ... Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder played it pretty carefully during a 2-minute drill to end the first half, focusing mostly on checkdowns.
Local coverage: Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com: "For all of the questions surrounding the Vikings' offense entering camp, the one that lingers most prominently at the preseason's midpoint remains along the line. Look no further than coordinator Bill Musgrave's heavy reliance on the short passing game for evidence he knows which unit needs protecting." Sherels on the fumble/interception, via Pelissero: "I felt like I let my team down. Everyone was just saying, 'Just forget about it and play the next play.' I felt I had to make a play. Got a lucky bounce and happened to score." Cornerback Cedric Griffin made his first start since his second ACL injury last October, notes Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was eager to watch the film of what he thought was an encouraging outing, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
Up next: Saturday vs. Dallas Cowboys