The Vikings’ top two draft picks from 2016 were the noteworthy names to play in Thursday’s preseason finale loss to the Dolphins.
Receiver Laquon Treadwell, held out of the first two exhibitions because of a hamstring injury, wanted to play against the Dolphins and got his wish. The former first-round pick caught one pass for 9 yards from third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke before he took a seat in the first half.
The night could’ve gone better for cornerback Mackensie Alexander, last year’s second-round pick, who was the only expected defensive starter to play against the Dolphins. Alexander had one tackle and deflected a Brandon Doughty pass on a blitz.
Then Alexander, who admittedly needed to mature some as a rookie last season, turned a successful play sour when he was flagged for taunting Dolphins receiver Jakeem Grant following a third-down incompletion in the end zone. Miami scored on the next play off a David Fales pass to former Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray, who is now a tight end for the Dolphins.
Coach Mike Zimmer pulled Alexander aside once the second-year cornerback returned to the sideline just before halftime.
“I don’t think it was very good,” Zimmer said. “We had a little discussion about it.”
Floyd gets last action
Receiver Michael Floyd also got expected snaps before his four-game suspension begins Monday. Floyd did not catch either of his two targets Thursday night. The veteran can attend team meetings and stay around the facility during his suspension.
“I think that’s really important,” Zimmer said. “Not only for him to make sure he’s staying on the right path, but for him to stay related to the football part.”
Former Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner made his NFL preseason debut in the second half. Heinicke, who started the game, was already dealing with a rib injury and did not return to the game after suffering a concussion during a Dolphins safety just before halftime. Tight end Bucky Hodges was also knocked out of the game because of a concussion.
Leidner completed 14 of 19 passes for 129 yards and gained four rushing yards on three carries. He signed with the Vikings a week ago when Heinicke couldn’t practice due to a rib injury.
“For a while there I didn’t think it’d happen,” Leidner said. “But these guys in this locker room and this coaching staff are honestly one of the best I’ve ever been apart of. I couldn’t have done it without how welcoming these guys were.”
Veteran punter Ryan Quigley was given the final exhibition, kicking six times for a 44.5-yard average and pinned the Dolphins inside their 20-yard line three times. His competition, Taylor Symmank, did not play.
At kicker, Kai Forbath handled kickoffs, where they know strong-legged Marshall Koehn’s range, while Koehn was given the field goal and extra point attempts— where the Vikings should know Forbath’s accuracy by now. Koehn, who was 4-for-5 vs. the 49ers, missed an extra point attempt in the second quarter.
A handful of injured Vikings didn’t suit up, including tight end Kyle Rudolph (leg), linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (concussion), defensive end Brian Robison (leg) and safety Anthony Harris (leg). But the starters who did suit up didn’t play, anyway.
Vikings donate $300,000
The Vikings and Wilf family announced a $300,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game.
The Wilfs personally donated $200,000, half committed to the American Red Cross and half to The Jewish Federations of North America hurricane relief fund. The Vikings added an additional $100,000 to the American Red Cross.