Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Vikings Are Hoping to Awake Crime in Friday’s Precision Finale in Kansas City

The Vikings have struggled hard to score points lately, but at least they won’t be setting a team preseason futility record.

Entering Friday’s exhibition finale in Kansas City, the Vikings averaged 8.0 points in two preseason games. So if they close, they can’t top (or is that the bottom?) What happened in 1979, when Minnesota averaged 4.5 points during a 1-3 preseason.

Still within reach, however, is the second lowest-scoring preseason, now belonging to the 1984 team, which averaged 13.5 points going 1–3. And it should also be mentioned that the Vikings haven’t scored an offensive touchdown so far this preseason.

“I think it’s the points,” quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​said Wednesday in what he sees as Friday from the offense. “The name of the game is points. Touchdowns preferably, always. Get points.”

The Cousins ​​and first-team offense did not play out in a 33–6 home loss to Denver in the August 14 preseason opener, Minnesota’s worst exhibition loss since 31–0 to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984. Cousins ​​and the first team were there for three series and scored no points in a 12-10 home loss to Indianapolis last Saturday. Minnesota’s only touchdown in the game came on a 33-yard interception return by linebacker Troy Dye.

In terms of starting, head coach Mike Zimmer said Friday’s game would be similar to the Colts’ game, when the Vikings used nine starts and six on defense. Zimmer said some starters would not play, but he named the only one that certainly wouldn’t be wide receiver Adam Thielen, who suffered a thigh injury against Indianapolis.

“We want to make sure we execute against a different defense. … Hopefully, we’ll have some success,” Zimmer said of Friday’s offensive goals.

The preseason hasn’t had much success so far, although Cousins ​​said it is “a small sample size”. And on Friday, the Vikings will once again not have two of their top playmakers – running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Justin Jefferson. Cook may be rested for a third straight exhibition game, and Jefferson may not play at all in the preseason after injuring his shoulder in practice on August 6.

“I think it’s a good challenge, isn’t it?” Cousins ​​said some probably wouldn’t play without the stars. “I think we look at it as, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do without them.’ Try to take pride in that challenge.”

Hoping to get as many reps together as possible with a first-team offense, the Vikings chimed in at Tuesday’s practice and Zimmer said they’ll have another one next week in Cincinnati’s September 12 opener. While Thielen sat outside on Tuesday, Cook and Jefferson both attended, with Jefferson wearing a red jersey to make sure no one touched him.

“I think it’s important,” Cousin said of the scrimmage. “The players make the difference.”

Cousins ​​on Tuesday threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson, who returned to practice on a limited basis last week before being a full participant this week. The cousin said he said to Jefferson during the scuffle, “You know, you’re a really good football player.”

In Wednesday’s practice the Vikings cranked up the volume to the noise of a recorded crowd for their only Precision Road game. True, it will not be a regular season game, but Arrowhead Stadium is considered one of the highest venues in the NFL.

“It’s always good to go to a street where it’s very crowded,” Zimmer said. “We anticipate it will be loud there, so it will be a good experience when we get into the regular season.”

Although the Vikings didn’t score many points at home in the preseason, Irv Smith Jr. is hopeful that they will be able to make it on the road.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “But, you know, it’s a lot of fun to go somewhere else and turn your crowd off.”

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