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5 Takeaways: Mistakes Mount Early, Rose Carries Load in Vikings Preseason Opener

MINNEAPOLIS — Well, at least Greg Joseph made both of his field goal attempts.

On a day the Vikings chose not to play more than 30 players, Minnesota suffered a 33-6 loss to Denver in the preseason opener for both teams.

The Vikings were outgained 287 to 136 in total yards in the opening half, with the Vikings trailing 26-6 at the break.

That led Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer to be his usual blunt self in assessing the performance on the TV and radio simulcast.

"I told them it was a very poor performance," Zimmer told Greg Coleman. "We're going to scrimmage next week with this same bunch because we didn't tackle well. We made the wrong checks on defense with the safeties.

"We throw an interception for a touchdown … we went three-and-out on the first two series. Terrible punts. Other than that, it's been great," Zimmer added. "We're going to play next week and the week after … but some of these guys haven't earned it yet."

The injury bug also hit the Vikings during the game, as Kene Nwangwu (knee) and Cam Smith (concussion) left the game in the first half and did not return.

Minnesota continues its preseason slate at home Saturday against Indianapolis. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (CT).

Here are four other takeaways from the Vikings preseason opener:

1. Too many mistakes all over

Denver took an early lead and never looked back, but the Vikings offense was actually on the field when Broncos got on the scoreboard first.

Minnesota faced third-and-6 from its own 8-yard line when Jake Browning dropped back to pass. Dakota Dozier, who started at right guard, was called for a holding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety. Dozier was later whistled for a false start.

There were multiple infractions on the defense, too.

Stephen Weatherly (offsides) and Jalyn Holmes (neutral zone infraction) both committed penalties on third-and-short to give Denver a pair of first downs.

Jake Browning also threw a pick-six in the first half. He completed five of 10 passes for 31 yards.

Browning and rookie Kellen Mond each led drives that ended with field goals. Mond completed 6 of 16 passes for 53 yards. He also rushed five times for 25 yards.

2. Dantzler, Bynum beat deep on TD pass

Zimmer's comment above about the secondary might have had to do with an 80-yard touchdown pass his defense allowed in the first quarter.

There wasn't anything special about that play, it was just a simple post route from speedy Denver receiver K.J. Hamler.

But cornerback Cameron Dantzler and rookie safety Camryn Bynum seemed lost on the play, as neither was near Hamler when he hauled in a deep pass from Drew Lock.

Dantzler was behind Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland on the Vikings first unofficial depth chart earlier this week.

3. Rose shines on offense

Perhaps the lone bright spot for the Vikings offense was running back A.J. Rose, Jr.

The undrafted rookie free agent carried 25 times for 100 yards against the Broncos. He also had one reception for 18 yards.

Rose's 118 total yards made up 50 percent of the Vikings offense (235 yards) on Saturday.

Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison and C.J. Ham did not play. Rose carried the bulk of the rushing load after Nwangwu went out with his knee injury.

Rose played collegiately at Kentucky, appearing in 44 games with 24 starts. He ran for 1,971 total yards, which ranks 10th in school history.

4. Up-and-down performance on special teams

As mentioned above, Joseph made both of his field goal attempts against Denver. He was good from 34 yards out in the first quarter, and also hit a 25-yard field goal to end the first half.

Britton Colquitt had two punts for 78 total yards, and the Vikings also allowed a 62-yard kickoff return to open the second half.

Nwangwu had an 18-yard kickoff return to open the game. K.J. Osborn had two kickoff returns for 51 total yards, including a long of 31 yards. Rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette gained 42 yards on two kickoff returns and had a long of 30 yards.

Ameer Abdullah gained eight yards on his lone punt return.

View action photos from the Vikings-Broncos preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.