Saturday, August 18, 2012
Preseason2: 'Presentable' night for Vikings
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Friday's action at the Metrodome:
Minnesota Vikings 36, Buffalo Bills 14
Preseason record: 1-1
Of interest: The first-team offense played into the second quarter, scoring 10 points. Quarterback Christian Ponder had an efficient game, completing 10 of 13 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown while also converting a key first down via scramble. To this point, the preseason has confirmed our initial thought on Ponder: much improved from last season but still some work to do. … Receiver Jerome Simpson gave Vikings fans a new highlight to remember, hurdling the Bills' Jairus Byrd to extend a 33-yard reception. … It's confirmed: Receiver Michael Jenkins is on the Vikings' preseason roster: His play on the ball at the end of a 35-yard reception from Ponder was pretty skillful. … Place-kicker Blair Walsh had a memorable debut at the Metrodome, converting five field goals, including from 45 and 47 yards, and booting four touchbacks on kickoffs. … Backup quarterback Joe Webb rebounded with some nice throws as well as two scrambles that totaled 61 yards. … I don't know if rookie linebacker Audie Cole, a seventh-round draft pick, will make the team. But he gave coaches something to ponder by returning two interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter. … Apparently the Metrodome crowd wasn't feeling the preseason drama and spent nearly a half hour throwing free game programs and other debris into the air and on the field.
Local coverage: The Vikings' lineup is sorting itself out, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. Safeties Mistral Raymond and Harrison Smith, along with guard Brandon Fusco, appear well on their way to being starters. ... Smith made a timely play on a blitz, knocking down a pass, and overall, Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes: "His performance was encouraging in that he made a few plays and didn't look confused or out of place, precisely what he's shown throughout training camp." … Ponder said he has been coached to slide headfirst on some occasions so as not to expose his body to injury, according to Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune. Ponder: "People were tweeting at me [tonight] like, 'Dude, slide feet first. What are you doing?' But it’s a planned deal." … Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "[T]he Vikings were very presentable in their 2012 home debut." … Cole, via Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press: "You sit the night before and you think about doing something like that. I'm just trying to make the team, and I hope that helps the cause."
Up next: Friday against the San Diego Chargers.