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Zimmer expects Reiff, other injured Vikings to play in third preseason game

SEATTLE — On Aug. 27, the Vikings offense is expected to be together for the first time in a game.

That’s when the Vikings play the San Francisco 49ers during the preseason’s third exhibition. It’s also when head coach Mike Zimmer expects left tackle Riley Reiff and running back Latavius Murray to make their Vikings debuts after injuries have sidelined both all month.

“I think we’ll get all our guys back next week,” Zimmer said after the Vikings’ 20-13 preseason loss to the Seahawks on Friday night.

Only against the 49ers will quarterback Sam Bradford finally drop back with Reiff as his blindside protector and, potentially, hand off to Murray or throw to second-year receiver Laquon Treadwell, who has also missed two exhibitions due to injury.

Bradford has taken six series between two preseason games with mixed results. The starting offense scored just three points on Friday night against the Seahawks, but Bradford and rookie running back Dalvin Cook showed signs of growth with double-digit gains in one of the NFL’s toughest (albeit preseason) environments at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Bradford said he’s looking forward to the “dress rehearsal” next week against the 49ers, when his offensive line of Reiff, guard Alex Boone, center Nick Easton (or Pat Elflein), guard Joe Berger and tackle Mike Remmers are expected to play together for the first time.

“It’s nice because we have so many pieces I feel we can use and can be involved in the offense,” Bradford said. “The tricky part is figuring out how they all fit together and how we can use everyone, especially when we’ve got everyone on the field at the same time. I think it’s going to allow us to be more versatile than in the past.”

Dalvin Cook, Ifeadi Odenigbo stand out in Vikings' loss to Seahawks

SEATTLE — The Vikings’ perfect preseason ended in the second game during a 20-13 loss to the Seahawks on Friday night. So let’s update our Vikings stock watch after the exhibition:

Up

1. RB Dalvin Cook: Cook broke arm tackles on his way to picking up 33 yards on three consecutive carries against the Seahawks, showing off his combination of power and elusiveness once he finds a seam. Cook’s production came behind a patchwork offensive line that expects to return two of its starters — Alex Boone and Riley Reiff — for the next preseason game on Aug. 27.

2. DE Ifeadi Odenigbo: The rookie seventh-round pick kept hearing his name called during the second half. Odenigbo started with a third-down sack on Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin and continued with two run stops on the following series. Odenigbo added another quarterback hit and a forced fumble in the fourth quarter. The Vikings could face some tough decisions with their defensive end depth.

3. Offensive line: Cook picked up gains of 9, 9 and 15 yards from three different spots in the offensive line. That’s a good sign against the respected Seahawks defensive front. Rookie center Pat Elflein appeared to have clean snaps and, above all, Bradford managed to stay clean without a sack on 12 dropbacks. Right guard Joe Berger and right tackle Mike Remmers had solid blocks to spring Cook on a nine-yard gain.

Down

1. CB Mackensie Alexander: Alexander lost sight of Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who slipped behind the Vikings slot corner for Seattle’s biggest play from their starters. Baldwin gained 37 yards on a catch and run out of the slot, where the Vikings are expected to start Alexander in his second NFL season. The talented cornerback experienced some growing pains in Seattle.

2. QB Sam Bradford: Whether it’s on the center or the quarterback, the red-zone delay of game penalty will fall on Bradford’s shoulders. The Vikings’ opening drive stalled after Bradford, who did make the gutsy 39-yard completion to Stefon Diggs while being drilled, was pegged for delay of game to force third-and-20 (after Kyle Rudolph was flagged for a false start). Bradford then had a couple questionable throws in the second series. He seemed to force a pass to Diggs down the sideline, which was nearly intercepted by Richard Sherman. Then Bradford overthrew Cook in the flat on third-and-9.

3. Returners: Little clarity was gained in the kick returner competition. Running back Jerick McKinnon led the way, but was corralled at the 12-yard line on his only attempt. Then rookie receiver Rodney Adams fumbled the third-quarter kickoff out of halftime to set up a Blair Walsh field goal for the Seahawks. Adams returned two kicks for 13 and 21 yards.

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