The Vikings used every bit of their third preseason game on Sunday night to edge out the San Francisco 49ers, using a last-second touchdown plunge from Terrelle Newby and a two-point conversion run from Taylor Heinicke on the game's final play to log a 32-31 victory. Here are five takeaways from the game.
1. Too many mistakes by first team defense, offense
For a game often termed as the dress rehearsal and with several starters returning to the lineup after missing time with injury, head coach Mike Zimmer was displeased with the number of mistakes by both the first team defense and offense. On offense, four of the first 10 plays were for negative yardage, including two sacks of quarterback Sam Bradford, and the group was unable to convert a scoring opportunity at the end of the first half after the defense executed on its end. On defense, broken coverage allowed for wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to get behind the defense for a 46-yard touchdown catch and later in the 1st quarter running back Carlos Hyde skated through the defense with a 24-yard scoring grab.
2. Game-winning drive, McKinnon return touchdown highlight bright spots
There were several bright spots for the Vikings in the game, most notably the 14-play, 63-yard drive by Heinicke and Co. at the end of the game that was capped by a run for the two-point conversion by Heinicke. The late-game drama pushed the Vikings to a one-point victory. Another highlight earlier in the game was provided by Jerick McKinnon, who took a kickoff return back 108 yards for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. McKinnon, who showed some pop on offense as well, took a kickoff out of the end zone from eight yards deep and glided through the coverage team all the way to the end zone to put the Vikings within seven points of San Francisco. It won't be surprising if the kickoff return job is McKinnon's when the Vikings open the season on September 11. Other highlights included a 16-yard catch by tight end Kyle Carter for a touchdown, a 58-yard field goal by Marshall Koehn, a pass break up by Trae Waynes on Goodwin deep down the field, a sack by Eric Kendricks at the end of the 2nd quarter and Adam Thielen getting involved with five catches for 50 yards.
3. Rookie wide receivers flash again
Rookie receivers Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley continued their strong summers on Sunday night, with Adams corralling two catches for 29 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown, and Coley contributing with four catches for a team-high76 yards. Coley's longest reception was a 39-yarder from Case Keenum in which Coley beat press coverage, hauled in the pass and then made two would-be tacklers miss. Adams also had a 32-yard punt return late in the game to jumpstart the offense as they took the field for the game-winning drive.
4. Keenum strengthens case to be backup
Heinicke looked great guiding the offense down for the game-winning drive, but Keenum also authored another strong performance. He was 10 of 14 for 139 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 142.6 on the night, demonstrating command of the offense and also using mobility to escape rushers and buy time for receivers to come open.
5. Koehn does all the kicking
The Vikings have had two kickers on roster all offseason – veteran Kai Forbath and 24-year old Marshall Koehn. But only one kicker had action on Sunday night and it was Koehn. The Iowa product was three of three on extra points and also drilled a field goal from 58 yards. Kohen also had four touchbacks on five kickoffs.