Week two of the preseason has come and gone...and it left us wanting more. This must be how people in Wisconsin feel when they try deep fried food for the first time. (hey-oh!)
The excitement around this Vikings team, two weeks in to the preseason, is unmistakable. For the first time in years, the number of (legitimately) excited fans, extremely outweigh those that are pooh pooh’ers. It’s a great feeling. Fans in Minnesota have been waiting for this feeling for a long time.
That said, if you’re a Minnesota fan, you should know by now that getting too excited can be awfully dangerous. So let’s take a deep breath, hold hands, count to ten, and hum this phrase together:
“It’s only preseason…it’s only preseason…”
Look, I get it. While humming this gentle reminder out loud, the Purple guy on your right shoulder, who is holding the pitch fork, is whispering in your ear, “but Teddy looked soooo good!”
NO! Stop it! Don’t let the voices take over! Fight the urge!
hummmmmm…it’s only preseason…hummmmm…it’s only preseason…
Collect yourselves, grab a warm glass of milk, and let’s get through this together.
If you watched Monday Night Football last night, you saw how quickly excitement can turn to concern. Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback, Johnny Manziel, looked awful in his second preseason game against the Washington Redskins (who didn’t look much better). Just a week ago, Manziel was running all over the back field and making plays against the reserves of the Detroit Lions.
In week two of a preseason game, Washington’s second unit shouldn't have poised much of a threat based on how awful their defense was in 2013. In a span of seven days, the (some of) sports World had a different feeling about Manziel. Yes, things could easily change back to mega-positive if Manziel plays well, at home, this coming weekend, I realize that.
This probably didn't help either… https://vine.co/v/M3ta2UVeU5n
Naturally, I couldn't help myself, so I made this:
Alright, back to the Vikings win against the Arizona Cardinals.
For a preseason game, it was quite entertaining. It was obvious by the body language of both head coaches, that these teams were playing to win. Both the Cardinals and Vikings have something to play for, even if it is the preseason.
For the Cardinals, it’s to prove they're a legit contender in the difficult NFC West. For the Vikings, it’s more to excite the fans that there is something to build on. They're doing a great job of that through the first two weeks.
Hummmmmmmm…..it’s only preseason………hummmmmmmmmm…it’s only preseason……
Stay with me here. Stay calm. Because I’m about to bring up Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater looked really good against the second and third units for the Cardinals. Yes, Teddy was also playing with the second and third stringers for the Vikings, but the players were playing to win. Teddy made some great throws. He looked off defenders (something Christian Ponder nor Tarvaris Jackson ever did) and hit the open receivers.
He was far from perfect, as some of his passes were off target and his touch on fade passes in the end zone could have been better, but he stayed in the pocket and made throws. That is huge for a rookie.
Speaking of the pocket, hats off to the offensive line. There were a few early mistakes, but there was a constant pocket for both Matt Cassel and Bridgewater. You don’t have to be a football genius to understand why that is important, but we have not seen consistency there since Brett Favre was wearing purple.It will be interesting to see how the unit plays this weekend against a difficult Kansas City Chiefs defense.
One thing that I noticed, and it took me back a few years, was that our offense actually looked like a football team that knew what it was doing. In the Fall of 2012, the Gopher football team opened their season on the road, versus UNLV, late on a Thursday night. With quarterback MarQueis Gray (now playing fullback/tight end with Manziel in Cleveland) in charge, the Gophers were in their second year under head coach Jerry Kill.
Until this game, I had not seen much fluidity in the Gophers’ offense since Glen Mason was running the show. But this particular game, I could see it coming together. There were some bad throws, some missed assignments, that would have given the Gophers a 20+ point victory (they eventually won 30-27 in triple overtime). The plays were there, but the play-makers were not.
It didn't matter, because the players were buying in and you could see something special was in the works.
Fast forward a few years to the present and the Gophers are making noise as a legit team that could surprise the college football world. It’s working.
I had this same feeling with the Vikings during the Cardinals game. Sure, the defense looked a bit shaky during the first drive, but this defense is a project and they (the first unit) got better as the game went on. You could see that there is something different in comparison to the defenses of recent years.
For the offense, the #TurnerInToAWinner affect is happening. Players were open. Like wide open. Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings…they were all open. It’s up to the line to give the quarterback time to make the throw, which they did. That’s something to look forward to with offensive coordinator Norv Turner in charge.
What was not good? The running backs. Matt Asiata looked slow and non-agile. That said, I thought Joe Banyard looked pretty good. Rookie Jerick McKinnon was not featured as much, but I expect we’ll see more of him the next two games. So, yeah, no Adrian Peterson and our offense looked pretty good against a solid defense?
LET’S GO! GET PUMPED UP!
Hummmmmm…it’s only the preseason……hummmmmmmmmm....t’s only the preseason…
See how easy it is to get all tingly in your funny parts? Temper that urge. Save that excitement for when you’ll need it. Like legitimately need it. That time may come sooner than you think.