By Scott Taylor
If you’re ever going to lose a football game, this is the way to lose – don’t play any starters. In fact, after the Tennessee Titans beat the Vikings 24-17 on Thursday night it was duly noted that not only did 29 Vikings regulars sit out, but even backup quarterback Shaun Hill was given the night off.
It was also noted that runningback Adrain Peterson dressed and warmed up but completed his team’s five-game 2015 preseason schedule without taking one single snap.
Thursday’s loss was the first time the Vikings have lost a preseason game since Mike Zimmer took over as the team’s head coach. The Vikings are now 8-1 in practice games during Zimmer’s tenure. And don’t think he didn’t notice.
“Well, I don’t really care about my record,” he said, “but I don’t like to lose.”
Sounds like at least one player, maybe more, are going to suffer Zimmer’s losing wrath when the cuts come on Saturday.
This was the best loss in Vikings history. No teddy Bridgewater, no AP, no Mike Wallace or Charles Johnson, no serious injuries to a starter (Hello, Phil Loadholt, wherever you are?).
That’s why 22-year-old rookie QB Taylor Heinicke played the entire game at quarterback for the Vikings. The likely No. 3 quarterback completed 27 of 41 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. He also had an 18-yard run. If the Vikings keep three quarterbacks, and they probably will, it’s likely Heinicke will stick around.
“He showed he’s got something to him,” Zimmer said.
Now, let’s be honest. After five preseason games – the Hall of Fame game was more than a month ago – we didn’t learn much on Thursday night. Sure, Heinicke would be a deserving third string quarterback, but other than that, Thursday’s loss to Tennessee was nothing more than a battle for the last few spots on the roster.
We did like: Stefon Diggs, a 21-year-old wide receiver out of Maryland who caught eight passes for 85 yards and a touchdown and also returned a punt 29 yards in the third quarter.
Defensive end Scott Crichton was in on four tackles and recorded a sack of his own.
Safety Andrew Sendejo had three solo tackles and a superb tackle-for-loss on a fourth-and-one late in the first half.
Tight end MyCole Pruitt – who is the third tight end on the roster, at best, this season – caught three passes for 41 yards. The highlight was a 28-yarder.
We also liked the fact that in five preseason games – including the 24-17 loss – the Vikings allowed only 13.8 points per game. If they can keep that up with the first team offence, the Vikings will win a lot of game this season.
The Vikings have to be down to 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be some tough choices at linebacker, tight end and conerback and who will return punts? Marcus Sherels, Stefon Diggs or Cordarrelle Patterson?
The Vikings open the 2015 season in San Francisco on Monday Night, Sept. 14. It starts at a gawd-awful time of approximately 9:30. Of course, it might be worth staying up just to see Teddy and AP in the backfield at the same time.
And hey, it’s really football. No more practice games on TV.
Don’t forget, you can see the Minnesota Vikings live this season!!!! Garry Shymko, the mastermind behind Shymer Tours has a tremendous schedule of 2015 Minnesota Vikings games lined up. Our tour schedule is all set up and you’re invited to head to TCF Bank Stadium with us this season.
This year, games start at $359 per tour and that includes a ticket to the Vikings game, your bus trip to the Twin Cities and two nights accommodations at the Holiday Inn Express in Bloomington, just an eight-minute walk from Mall of America. I’ll see you at TCF Bank Stadium for the Lions on Sept. 21.
Here are the tours:
Lions vs Vikings | Sept 19-21, 2015
Chargers vs Vikings | Sept 26-28, 2015
Packers vs Vikings | Nov 21-23, 2015
Seahawks vs Vikings | Dec 5-7, 2015
Bears vs Vikings | Dec 19-21, 2015
Take it from me, these trips are sensational. And don’t forget, we hold court at most of them on Saturday afternoon at the Buffalo Wild Wings at Mall of America while enjoying great food and watching the best NCAA football games from around the United States.
Here’s how you get on the bus:
1. A non-refundable $200.00 per person deposit is required at time of booking. The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the scheduled event.
2. Payments may be made by Cash, Cheque, PayPal/Visa/Mastercard.
3. All payments are non-refundable.
4. U-Drive confirmations will be mailed upon receipt of deposit. Event tickets, maps and directions will be mailed upon receipt of final payment.
5. Bus Tour package confirmations will be mailed upon receipt of deposit. Event tickets, hotel accommodations, miscellaneous information will be mailed out approximately two weeks prior to the event.
Just go here: http://www.shymertours.ca to check out all the sensational tours this year. And don’t forget, the Vikings are waiting for you at TCF Bank Stadium.