Vikings Win Hall of Fame Game 14-3
It may be the preseason but football is back! Sunday night the Vikings kicked off their 2015-2016 campaign with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one of the preseason.
In a 14-3 win Sunday night, it was a defensive battle to kick off the year. Though preseason games don't matter towards the Viking's actual season, it was exciting to get to see some of the Vikings young talent get opportunities to shine.
The Vikes got their first look at first-rounder Trae Waynes who got a hefty amount of playing time. Waynes was burnt pretty badly once by Shakim Phillips, who made a pretty nifty one-handed grab to put the Steelers in the red-zone. He also committed a couple defensive pass interference penalties that he will have to clean up if he wants to be a starting corner this season. He also showed, though, why he was taken in the first round, and why he is said to have so much potential. Though the rookie has to work on keeping his hands off guys and being more consistent, his speed and instincts were phenomenal. Waynes was almost impossible to beat deep, which could be huge for this Vikings team.
Fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs, who has reportedly had a solid camp, had probably the biggest play of the night. With a little over four minutes left in the third quarter, Diggs took a punt back 62 yards to the Steelers one yard line to set up Minnesota's second touchdown of the game. Diggs is continuing to impress this preseason and should make an impact when the season starts.
Other role players made their case for making the roster this season. Second-year running back Jerick McKinnon made a catch in the backfield, and looked like he would be taken down behind the line. However, the shifty McKinnon made a great juke move and then, to everyone's surprise, he finished off the 12-yard reception by running over a Steeler's defensive back. If McKinnon can bring that physicality along with his blazing speed, he should be given many opportunities to shine this season.
Mycole Pruitt was the star of the night for Minnesota. Pruitt led the team with four catches. He also led the Vikes with 51 receiving yards and had the Vikings only receiving touchdown. If Pruitt was on the fence of making the week one cut, he should definitely be safe after last night's performance.
Teddy Bridgewater was impressive in limited time. The second-year quarterback went 5-6 with 44 yards. He picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, and come week one of the regular season, with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Teddy should have a great opportunity for success in his second year.
It was an encouraging start for the Vikings, with a Hall of Fame Game victory over the Steelers on Sunday night. The defense looked just as good and fast as advertised. Though it was only one game, hope is high for the young defensive crew.
Teddy Bridgewater looked in mid-season form, and young guys like McKinnon, Pruitt and Diggs showed that they may be valuable targets for Bridgewater this season, as well as in the future.
As exciting as the young guys were Sunday night, the Vikings were still without their most exciting and best player, Adrian Peterson. Bring Peterson in with the young and talented Vikings offense and this team will be a fun one to watch this coming season. It may only be one game, and it may be the preseason, but the Vikings young talent came to play, and Minnesota looks ready to leave their mark on the NFC North this season.