How great is it to get to watch Minnesota Vikings football again, even if it is only preseason? I’ll confess, I didn’t always like preseason football. While I always welcomed the return of football, I used to see preseason football as the redheaded step-child of regular season football because the games didn’t “count” and the star players hung out on the sidelines wearing visors. However, I have seen the error of my ways and have new appreciation for preseason.
After avidly following the Vikings draft choices and practice squad for the past couple years, the preseason now has a certain American Idol quality. Even though I don’t get a vote on who stays on the team and who goes home, I do like that feeling that I was there at the start of their NFL career.
But, if I did have a vote about who makes the Vikings roster and who doesn’t, here are a few guys who got my attention last night in the Vikings 28-7 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Asher Allen. Not only does this guy have a rock star name, he also is showing that he means business at cornerback. Only 5’9”, Allen is hitting big, not unlike Antoine Winfield, and prevented a few deep plays with good coverage forcing a Rams fourth down.
Colt Anderson. Sometimes it isn’t so much about stunning ability as it is about tenacity. On special teams Anderson was flattened into the turf twice trying to stop a Rams return but he kept getting up, kept honing in on the play, and eventually was in on the stop.
Chris Cook. A lankier cornerback at 6’2”, Cook really got my attention on a special teams play where he slapped the ball out of the returner’s hands and Kenny Onatolu recovered it.
Garrett Mills. With so many of the Vikings offensive stars injured, guys farther down on the depth chart have gotten more reps. Mills showed off all that practice, pulling in four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Jayme Mitchell. With the cloud of uncertainty that has followed Pat and Kevin Williams in their legal fight against a four-game suspension, the Vikings have quietly built up the depth on the defensive line. Mitchell sacked, hurried, and all-around terrorized the Rams first-round pick Sam Bradford.
Logan Payne. A former Minnesota player, Payne caught 7 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Even when he was getting mugged by the Rams secondary, he showed a scrappy persistence.
Joe Webb. His footwork was kind of a mess and there were a few times when he was running for his life from the Rams defense, but what a run he had. Webb rushed for 24 yards and connected with rookie Mickey Shuler for a touchdown. There is no doubt that Webb is raw, but the talent is there validating the decision to switch him from receiver to quarterback.