A week after running back Roc Thomas racked up 102 receiving yards, Mike Boone led the Vikings with 91 yards rushing.
The battle for Minnesota's third running back spot rages on. Mack Brown, Thomas and Boone have been vying for the spot over the spring and summer, and now each of the undrafted rookies have had an impressive outing.
NFL.com recently posted a "What we learned" article writers' roundtable that summarized Saturday's preseason games across the league; one of the items from the Vikings-Jaguars contest at U.S. Bank Stadium highlighted Boone and Thomas:
The Cincinnati product (Boone) ran with bombastic power, good speed to the edge and violent finishes. He finished with 91 rushing yards on 13 carries (7.0 average) and a TD, looking like an early-career Chris Ivory. Roc Thomas, who flashed last week, looked solid again. The versatile tailback compiled 25 rushing yards on five carries and two receptions for 12 yards.
The two rookies should get plenty of reps the rest of the preseason in a battle to see which will make the roster. Saturday's tilt, however, showed that each should be on an NFL team somewhere.
Collins stepping up as 'utility man' for Vikings
Second-year offensive lineman Aviante Collins played three different positions against the Jaguars in the Vikings second preseason game Saturday.
Collins told Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press that he's had experience switching from right tackle to left tackle or vice versa in a game, but it was "definitely a first" to also take reps at left guard. Mizutani wrote:
With left guard Nick Easton out for the season after neck surgery, center Pat Elflein still on the PUP list, right guard Mike Remmers working his way back from an ankle injury and right tackle Rashod Hill also out, the Vikings entered Saturday's game already devoid of healthy players on the offensive line.
That depth, or lack thereof, took another hit when reserve offensive linemen Cedrick Lang and Josh Andrews left the game because of injuries.
Collins said that it's challenging to move around but that he has to "be prepared for everything."
"Just being versatile in general helps out the whole team," Collins said. "It's valuable to have somebody like that. We have had people like that in the past with someone like Jeremiah Sirles who was able to play multiple positions. You know, Nick Easton, Joe Berger and even Pat [Elflein], they all can play multiple positions. It just helps out the team having those people that can do that."
Chad Beebe trying to maximize reps
Perhaps one of the most "acrobatic" moves during the Vikings game against the Jaguars Saturday was put on tape by Chad Beebe, who was "flipped," rather than tackled, by a Jacksonville defender.
But Beebe hopes he'll be remembered for more than just a fluke flip. The receiver who signed with Minnesota as an undrafted rookie is garnering some attention during the preseason, scoring his first NFL touchdown just over a week ago at Denver.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN noted that Beebe entered Saturday's game against Jacksonville in the second quarter with the second-string offense. He wrote:
Beebe, a 5-foot-10 rookie from Northern Illinois, caught a touchdown pass in the Vikings' preseason opener against Denver, which likely propelled him to more playing time in the second warm-up contest of the year. Against the Jags he was targeted four times, came down with a 14-yard reception and returned two punts for 12 yards.
Coller added that Beebe probably isn't in line to win the punt returner job behind Marcus Sherels and Mike Hughes but that he has "shown he can contribute in other areas of special teams."
"It's a pretty big adjustment, I played a little bit in college my freshman and sophomore year as far as kickoff and whatnot, so yeah, it's a little new to me but I love it," Beebe told Coller. "It's something I'm getting used to and learning how to do it the correct way."
Beebe, who said he prefers playing the slot, has been watching Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs throughout camp and gleaning all he can from the Vikings starting duo.
"They know the game so well," Beebe said. "They know the coverages that they have in front of them, which kind of changes their route depending on how they're going to play you as far as defense goes. That's something they do really well and that's something I'm trying to learn. I'm trying to ask them questions."