Vikings Game Recap: Defense Bounces Back, Browning Falters, and Troy Dye Shows Promise –

Sep 27, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) scrambles in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was easier to watch. Our Minnesota Vikings played a lot better tonight, but they still fell to the Indianapolis Colts. The final score was 12-10. Among the notable players to miss today’s game were Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Cook, and Anthony Barr.

There was a ton to keep an eye on, so the game definitely deserves another full watch. The first impression of the defensive 1s was mostly positive. Keep in mind that we were missing Barr, Hunter, and Xavier Woods (among several others). When that full defense is together, Zim is going to be able to get really creative. It should be fun. Blake Lynch, Troy Dye, and Armon Watts were among the defensive players to stand out.

Unfortunately, the offense didn’t get into much of a rhythm. The opening drive ended with Adam Thielen coming off the field with a small limp. The first-team offense played into the second quarter, but they were unable to find any success. Kirk Cousins finished his day 5/7 for 23 yards. He added 9 yards rushing. We’re all hoping Lil’Kub has a few more tricks up his sleeve once the games really matter.

I was really pulling for Jake Browning. He had a rough outing, though. True, there were some fine passes in there – especially to Chad Beebe and K.J. Osborn – but he missed several routine throws. At best, he should be the team’s QB3. The game just looks too fast for him even though it’s the preseason. He finished 6/15 for 82 yards.

Part of the issue is that Kellen Mond was similarly poor. At this point, both backups are struggling with the basics. We shouldn’t assume Mond is now the QB2, but we can safely assume that Browning’s hold of the job is far from secure. By the end of the game, Mond was 6/12 for 61 yards. He played the entire second half.

Greg Joseph – who appears to have won the kicking competition – missed a 51 yard field goal. He got another chance from 49 with less than a minute in the first half, an attempt that led to 3 points for the Vikings. Collectively, purple fans breathed a sigh of relief. My hope was that the offense could give him a chance to kick for the win at the end, but they couldn’t convert on a late fourth down. Minnesota got the ball back with 22 seconds left, but the game was over.

After two full games, Minnesota’s offense is still without a TD.

One of the highlights of the game was Troy Dye’s pick six. He will almost certainly be on the roster as a depth option at LB. It remains to be seen how many snaps he’ll get, but he’ll have a sizeable role on special teams.

We also got to see a DT get an INT, which is always awesome:

For what it’s worth, Britton Colquitt had a much better game. He averaged 46.1 yards per punt. The special teams coverage – led by sophomore safety Josh Metellus – looked noticeably sharper.

Mike Zimmer will be considerably happier with this week’s performance, but his team still has a ton to work on.

The offense needs to be more decisive, consistent, and explosive. The defense needs to tighten up in run defense. On special teams, Ihmir Smith-Marsette needs to keep the ball high-and-tight. I can almost guarantee Cincinnati’s special teams coach is looking at Smith-Marsette’s returns and hoping the Vikings stick with the rookie WR in Week 1. There’s no debating he’s very, very fast, but that won’t matter if the ball gets fumbled.

Minnesota finishes off their preseason this upcoming Friday in Kansas City.