Vikings quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Shaun Hill were a combined 15-of-17 passing for 190 yards with two touchdown passes and four scoring drives, but their performance went beyond the burning stat sheet.
Mark Craig of the *Star Tribune *noted the pace of play with which Bridgewater and Hill led the first and second-team offenses, showing their command of Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner's system. It's the second year in the system for Bridgewater and Hill, although there was quite a gap since Hill played for Turner in San Francisco in 2006.
*Was it perfect? No. Are the Buccaneers horrendous defensively? Yes. *
But even with those disclaimers, the thing that stood out most to this observer about the Vikings' preseason game on Saturday night was the speed with which quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Shaun Hill played both mentally and physically in their execution of Norv Turner's up-tempo offense.
Bridgewater said after the game, in which he led drives that ended with a field goal and touchdown out of three total possessions, that the team wants to start fast and keep going each week.
"We can't get out there and feel our way around each week. We just have to go out there and let our presence be felt, set the tempo. We did a good job of doing that."
Craig noted the first-team offense hasn't had a penalty in its four preseason series, adding:
*Even with talent, the key, as always, is how quickly the quarterback can read the field, digest what he sees and react before the play's timing expires. Bridgewater and Hill did all of those things well enough to keep the Vikings a step faster than the Bucs. *
Craig said Bridgewater and Hill also were effective in using their eyes to keep defenders at bay:
Bridgewater was decisive, quick and unpredictable with his eyes. …
(Hill) showed command of the offense and the ability to utilize the deception power of Turner's route tree. For example, the 15-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen on an underneath crossing route was set up when Hill first sold a look to tight end Chase Ford on a deeper route spaced perfectly beyond Thielen's.
The injury suffered by right tackle Phil Loadholt on Saturday led off this week's Monday Morning Mailbag.
Loadholt was replaced on the third play from scrimmage by rookie T.J. Clemmings, and Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press took a look at Clemmings and the respect teammates have for Loadholt.
Fans and friends
Lou Raguse of USA Today spotlighted two Vikings fans that have been best friends for 41 years. Joe Marushin and Jim Small, who are both battling cancers, attended Saturday night's preseason home opener. Read about their story here.