Final preseason checkup

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 8, 2007 - 2:06 PM

«The Minnesota Vikings will be a better football team this year. That's my strong belief.» — Brad Childress, March 2007

That quote served as our springboard this summer in examining the Vikings' strengths and weaknesses entering training camp. So — after nearly three weeks in Mankato and four preseason games — do the Vikings appear to have maintained their strengths while shoring up their weaknesses? Beat writer Kevin Seifert re-examines, based on a scale of Better, Baby Steps, Same or Worse.

Offense

MUST IMPROVE

Big plays in passing game

The Vikings' 6.3-yard average per attempt last season was their worst in 22 years, and they set a franchise low with 13 touchdown passes. The Vikings seemed to make some progress this summer on the former, as QB Tarvaris Jackson and WR Bobby Wade connected on three passes of more than 20 yards, but their shots into the end zone were rare in practice and games: Wade had the first team's only touchdown pass, on a trick play, before backup QB Brooks Bollinger threw one against Dallas in the preseason finale. Verdict: Baby Steps

Skill level of pass catchers

Wade quickly ascended to the top of a thin group, most importantly displaying ability to run after the catch. But new TE Visanthe Shiancoe was inconsistent in practice and mostly invisible in preseason games, and WR Sidney Rice looks like a possession guy. WR Troy Williamson looks far from reliable, and the arrival of Robert Ferguson suggests serious depth issues. Verdict: Worse

Cohesion on the offensive line

LT Bryant McKinnie's early hamstring injury caused too many personnel ripples, and it's clear coaches don't fully trust Artis Hicks at RG. They gave Anthony Herrera every chance to beat him out. But McKinnie, LG Steve Hutchinson and C Matt Birk all looked more comfortable and were opening holes for the run game. Verdict: Baby Steps

MUST NOT FALTER

Running game

No concerns here. RB Adrian Peterson can dash through holes or create his own through a combination of moves and speed. He is an early candidate for Rookie of the Year. Chester Taylor appears invigorated, and the Vikings' only concern is if defenses sell out with against the run. Verdict: Better

Defense

MUST IMPROVE

Pass rush

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 60 4th Qtr 8:19
Chicago 95
Golden State 48 3rd Qtr
Milwaukee 38
Oklahoma City 40 2nd Qtr 6:32
Utah 33
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 1st OT 3:05
Montreal 2
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 3rd Prd
Minnesota 2
Columbus 3 3rd Prd
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 0 2nd Prd
Colorado 2
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 31 2nd Half
Kentucky 31
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 2nd Half 7:00
Vancouver FC 1
Colorado 0 2nd Half 39:00
Houston 0
Seattle 0 2nd Half 32:00
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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