Top Plays: Vikings vs San Francisco

The Vikings didn’t meet my expectations when they hosted San Francisco on Sunday Night. I watched the game in a grey shirt and soft-brimmed purple Vikings hat (because it’s preseason) and our team produced similarly boring results. I expected a healthy Riley Reiff, Latavius Murray, Laquon Treadwell, and Trae Waynes to noticeably improve that team. That didn’t happen. Alas, they exited the game without injuries, and a feel good win.

Here are the most meaningful plays from Sunday’s game

1st and 10 at MIN 25
(15:00 – 1st) (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass short right to D.Cook to MIN 20 for -5 yards (R.Foster).
Cook Swing
Instant Reaction
Terrible start. Bradford checks down and Cook gets blown up! What kind of playcall is that? The next play Sam mishandles the exchange. This is the exact type of thing we didn’t want to see. I’m completely miffed by Sam’s lack of ability to generate fast starts. It’s never a good sign when the offense punts before the announcers can introduce the defense.

Upon Further Review
Sure enough, we watched an out-of-sync offense the entire first half. Mike Remmers, Stefon Diggs, and Pat Shurmur choked the team’s ability to score points. Sam Bradford played well in that high completion percentage, low yardage type of way that he perfected long ago. The offense looked like their worst version of 2016, until Bradford uncorked a deep shot call to Adam Thielen. It was too little too late as the clock hit zero to end the half. Overall I found the show unacceptable.

3rd and 4 at MIN 24
(14:55 – 2nd) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass short middle to C.Hyde for 24 yards, TOUCHDOWN. (Kick formation) R.Gould extra point is GOOD

Hyde Zampese
Instant Reaction
Again, if you’re not going to make plays then get off the field! The classic running back “Zampese” play puts Hyde on Smith, and Hyde burns him. Smith is having a terrible game and I’m running out of negative adjectives quickly. Shanahan’s playcalling looks masterclass. In what areas can the Vikings improve? ALL.

Upon Further Review
I reached my preseason boiling point quickly during this game. The defense mimicked the offense’s lack of focus. Brian Hoyer and Marquise Goodwin beat Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith. That sentence should never be typed. Then Brian Hoyer and Carlos Hyde beat Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr. That’s another sentence I hope to never type again. Meanwhile, the front four generated little pass rush. Only an Eric Kendricks blitz hit the mark.

1st and Goal at SF 9
(1:43 – 3rd) C.Keenum pass short right to R.Adams for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN. (Kick formation) M.Koehn extra point is GOOD
Adams Screen
Instant Reaction
I’M LOVING EVERYBODY! Keenum changes his arm angle, dishing the WR screen to LIGHTNING RODney Adams! We’re on the board. Adams continues to have an up & down preseason and this lands squarely in the up category. McKinnon and Floyd also flashed on that great drive.

Upon Further Review
The Vikings second team looked hungrier than the first team. Marshall Koehn hit a long FG to open up the second half’s scoring. On the next drive Jabari Price and Antone Exum generated a turnover to briefly stop the defensive bleeding. Soon after Case Keenum marched 75 yards and Adams split the defense to give Minnesota its first touchdown. The much needed score put the game back in reach and led to a thrilling half. It was the first of four touchdown drives in a row.

(0:37 – 3rd) R.Gould kicks 73 yards from SF 35 to MIN -8. J.McKinnon for 108 yards, TOUCHDOWN. M.Koehn extra point is GOOD

McKinnon TD

Instant Reaction
THE JET TAKES OFF! Cordarelle who? McKinnon is having a great game. Give that man the KR job. Give that man some screen passes. You know what just give him the ball more. Puzzling to have Murray over him on the depth chart.

Upon Further Review
In response to a 49ers 87 yard TD pass, Jerick McKinnon made a simple statement: The purple squad wasn’t done yet. His rocket engine kept Minnesota in the game. It’s a great example of how our team just kept making plays after halftime. The next Vikings drive included a 39 yard strike to Stacy Coley, a 20 yard ball to Adams, and a 19 yard bullet pass to Kyle Carter for a touchdown. An incredible run after most had turned the TVs off.

1st and Goal at SF 1
(0:00 – 4th) Terrell Newby 1 Yard Rush (Pass formation) TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. T.Heinicke rushes right end. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.
Heinicke Scramble
Instant Reaction
90 MAN GROUP HUG! JUMPING JACKS! UPSET NEIGHBORS!! WOOOOOOOOO! Adrenaline and competition brings out the best in that young man. Great feeling.

Upon Further Review
While the first team floundered, the second team passed a gut check test with flying colors. Heinicke looked hurt from the moment he took the field. He grimaced after his first toss and every play following that. A young man trying desperately to prove he has what it takes to play in the NFL. He left it all out on the field. I became a Heinicke fan on Sunday Night.

Final Take

The Vikings escaped unscathed but the nervous feeling we have persists, and grew during this game. Confidence in the offense is waning. The defense made Brian Hoyer look exceptional (That’s Soooo Vikings). Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels teased the idea of a home Super Bowl for our squad during the game….

No matter what happens, the season will be a roller coaster ride, just like this game.

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