The Vikings defeated the Rams 27-25 in the preseason finale for both teams. Minnesota finished its exhibition slate undefeated for an eighth time in franchise history, which is the most by any NFL team, and was one of four teams across the league to go 4-0 this preseason.
The most significant change for the Vikings since the team reported to Minnesota State University, Mankato is the loss of Teddy Bridgewater for the season. Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee that disrupted a wide path of optimism surrounding the team, but players and coaches have vowed to do everything they can to pick up the slack.
A look at the cumulative stats for the preseason is exactly what it is, meaning numbers by teams that are playing up to 90 players could change significantly once rosters are reduced to 53, starters are more involved and scheming opponents becomes part of coaches' weekly preparations.
Minnesota's performance in several key categories could be encouraging if the Vikings deliver those results in the preseason. Here's a look at five. The defense excelled in four categories. The offense also performed well in three of the same categories and has room to improve in two.
Defense: 4.83 percent, recording seven interceptions out of 145 passes thrown by opponents, which ranked third in the NFL
Offense: 0.93 percent, throwing just one interception out of 108 passes attempted, which ranked fourth in the NFL
Outlook: This is a great combination, illustrating the Vikings emphasis on creating more turnovers this season while continuing to protect the football and take some chances downfield.
Kickoff return average
Coverage team: allowed 25.7 yards per return, which ranked 21st in the NFL
Return team: 35.4 yards per return, which ranked third in the NFL
Outlook: Both categories were impacted by Thursday night's game when the coverage teams may have been a little different than what they'll be in the regular season, but it is encouraging to see the Vikings create good field position for starting drives.
Points per game
Defense: allowed 15.5 per game, tying for sixth in the NFL
Offense: scored 21.3 per game, tying for fifth in the NFL
Outlook: The Vikings ranked fifth in the league in points allowed in 2015 and returned every starter; Head Coach Mike Zimmer has done well in low-scoring games
Red zone percentage
Defense: allowed touchdowns on 40 percent of opponents possessions inside the 20-yard line, tying for eighth
Offense: scored touchdowns on 33.3 percent of opponents possessions inside the 20-yard line, tying for 28th
Outlook: That's a solid rate of forcing teams to attempt field goals, and four points could be a big difference in some games this season. The offense could get a boost from Adrian Peterson, who watched all the exhibition games from the sidelines.
Sacks per pass attempt
Defense: recorded a sack 9.7 percent of the time on an opponent dropback, ranking fourth
Offense: allowed a sack 11.1 percent of the time on dropbacks, ranking 31st
Outlook: The Vikings will study teams' rush tendencies, and Peterson can help keep defenses a little less likely to bring the heat on Shaun Hill.