Kyle Sloter: I Put My Heart and Effort into Trying to Make Vikings Roster

All Kyle Sloter can do now is wait for the weekend.

The Vikings quarterback started Thursday night’s preseason finale in Buffalo, turning in yet another solid performance in nearly three quarters of action.

And while it remains to be seen if Sloter will be on Minnesota’s 53-man roster come Saturday afternoon, the quarterback said that he had done all he could to leave a lasting impression on the Vikings front office and coaching staff.

“I don’t know. I don’t really like to speculate at things,” Sloter said. “I just put my best foot forward and really what I’m leaning on.

“Hopefully I can stay, but if I’m the one that has to go, I can leave with my head held high knowing I put all my heart and effort trying to better myself for the team,” Sloter added.

The quarterback completed 16 of 24 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Minnesota’s loss to Buffalo, compiling a passer rating of 82.5 along the way.

The Vikings moved past midfield on their opening drive but were forced to punt.

Sloter then responded with an eight-play, 47-yard scoring drive that ended with the quarterback tossing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ameer Abdullah. The running back caught the ball on a swing pass in the right flat and eased his way into the end zone.

Sloter led six drives in all, with only one ending in a punt. Besides his touchdown drive, he also led two series that ended with field goals — one by Kaare Vedvik and Dan Bailey apiece.

The two other drives ended with a missed field goal and an interception, the first pick of Sloter’s preseason career.

“I think we did well as an offense moving the ball. I was happy with the effort my guys gave,” Sloter said. “Again, just really happy for the guys I got to play with. We got a lot of good time out there to mesh and grow as a unit. I felt pretty good about tonight.”

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer offered up his assessment of the quarterback in his postgame press conference.

I thought he did well,” Zimmer said. “He managed the game better, he made plays. He had the one bad throw, but for the most part, he made plays, got the guys in the right places, the right checks for the most part.

“But he’s a good athlete, throws the ball well,” Zimmer later added. “I thought he did well.”

Sloter’s final preseason line included completing 39 of 51 passes for 443 yards with four touchdowns and the lone interception.

“I’m not really one to look at the individual stats of it all,” Sloter said. “I felt like I knew what I was doing tonight, and mostly just wanted to show that I can operate the offense and continue to get better in that area.

“I really wanted to improve in the run game and getting us in the right plays and checks, and I feel like that was the biggest improvement that I made. But again, the individual stuff is not really something I look at,” Sloter added. “As a unit, I feel we moved the ball really well. We converted some big third downs and didn’t have any three-and-outs, so that’s important.”

Sloter was relieved by Jake Browning late in the third quarter, as the undrafted rookie from Washington completed eight of 10 passes for 46 yards. Browning, who was intercepted on the game’s final play on a last-gasp pass, had a passer rating of 46.2.

Kirk Cousins and Sean Mannion did not play in the preseason finale, giving Sloter and Browning the chance to shine one last time.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman joined the television broadcast and offered a glimpse of how a front office makes a roster decision involving a player.

“We’ll get back and evaluate the tape, and the evaluation doesn’t go just off the preseason games,” Spielman said. “It goes off from when we started back in April, all the way through the OTAs, minicamps, the practices, how they conduct themselves in meetings, what’s the best combination for us.

“So, there’s a lot of things that go into it. And it doesn’t mean that if guys didn’t play tonight, that they’re on the roster. … We still have decisions,” Spielman added. “And sometimes we hold guys because we know what they are, and then the guys that are playing a lot tonight, we just want to take one more look before we make that final decision.”

Sloter spent the 2017 preseason with Denver, where he was released on roster cut-down day before joining the Vikings. He has yet to appear in an NFL game, but has turned in numerous impressive preseason performances.

Now, all he can do is wait.

“I just try to put my best foot forward in the three years I’ve been doing this. I feel like I’ve managed to do that,” Sloter said before speaking about roster cut-down day. “It’s always a tough day, and it’s been tough for me in the past with the Broncos. Then I land in a good spot [in Minnesota].

“But you lose some guys along the way, some friends with some bonds, but they have to make those decisions. Unfortunately, they have to make cuts, but everyone here is deserving of making the team,” Sloter added. “Really proud of the way that everybody worked. It’s really a tough day, no matter if you’re the guy that goes, or someone else.”

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