Seth Olsen walked into the Vikings locker room after Thursday night’s 24-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans. He took off his uniform and headed to the shower, chatting with teammates on the way.
The only thing he couldn’t do — because of the NFL’s concussion protocol — was discuss a scary 10-minute span of the second quarter when he was strapped to a board, placed on a stretcher and removed from the field.
The 27-year-old reserve guard hit his head on a Titans player’s knee while blocking, and had his neck snap back. Olsen did not move for a few minutes as the training staff and paramedics rushed to his aid.
“That was a scary moment, it looks like he’s OK, thank God,” said McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who quarterbacked the Vikings to the victory. “You never want to see anything like that.”
Joe Berger, who was starting with Olsen on the offensive line because the Vikings regulars did not play in the game, concurred.
“It just looked like a normal play to me, but that’s the way those things are,” Berger said. “You want to avoid injuries, but that’s football.”
As Olsen was wheeled off the field, he did give the “thumbs-up” while many teammates knelt on the field. He has played for both the Broncos, who drafted him out of Iowa in the fourth round in 2009, and the Colts.
Two Vikings left the game because of ankle sprains. Defensive end D’Aundre Reed came out in the opening series, and cornerback Bobby Felder left on the final play of the third quarter.
Kick wins it
Blair Walsh’s 25-yard field goal with one minute, 38 seconds remaining gave the Vikings the winning margin. Walsh, an All-Pro as a rookie last season, missed from 42 yards earlier in the fourth quarter.
The highlight of the game was Marcus Sherels’ 109-yard kickoff return to open the second half. It was the first kickoff return of more than 100 yards in Vikings preseason history.
The Titans used starting quarterback Jake Locker in the game’s opening series before he was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was Buffalo’s starter most of last season.
But Rusty Smith played most of the game, which ended on a botched snap that he was unable to handle and was recovered by the Vikings’ Collins Ukwu.
Bethel-Thompson completed 19 of 26 passes for 187 yards and an 11-yard TD pass to running back Joe Banyard. That probably solidifies Bethel-Thompson’s spot as the No. 3 quarterback behind Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel, who played briefly and completed all three of his passes.
“When the O-line is playing like they did tonight, they were blocking everybody, and when Joe Banyard’s running the ball like he is, and when the receivers are running routes like they are, hey, I’m just thankful they all played the way they played,” Bethel-Thompson said.
Banyard carried 13 times for 62 yards and finished the preseason as the team’s leading rusher. He was on the practice squad last year, and is in tough competition for a spot on the regular season roster.
The team must cut from 75 to 53 players by 5 p.m. Saturday.
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart sitting out, Matt Asiata started at halfback and carried eight times on the opening drive, gaining 32 yards and scoring on a 1-yard run, before giving way to Banyard.
“Just want to go out there and have fun and play football and execute, and let the coaches make the call,” Asiata said.