Friday night's game between the Vikings and Seahawks gave Minnesota a number of positive takeaways, despite the ultimate 20-13 loss.
One such takeaway was highlighted by NFL.com writer Jeremy Bergman, who was impressed by rookie running back Dalvin Cook's performance. Bergman wrote:
*Dalvin Cook is one slippery beast. The Vikings rookie tailback impressed once again with the first-teamers, bursting into the second level on nearly every one of his seven gallops Friday evening. Minnesota trusts Cook to carry the load, as the Vikings opened their second drive of the game with four straight handoffs to their first-year runner, who gained 40 yards on the night. The rookie was subbed out after just two drives but had done more than enough to secure his status in this offense. *
Bergman commented on other aspects of the teams' second preseason game, including the loss of Seattle's left tackle George Fant to an ACL tear, and listed Seahawks receiver Kasen Williams as a new player to watch. Williams had a one-handed catch for a gain of 27 and high-pointed a 1-yard touchdown toss from Russell Wilson.
Bergman also pointed out a touchdown celebration by Mike Davis that demonstrated the relaxed rules on end zone celebrations this season.
Offensive line, rookies among 'what went right' against Seahawks
Tim Yotter of *Viking Update *also delved into the positives from Friday night's matchup on the West Coast.
His recent article covered 'What went right' in addition to improvements he said Minnesota will need to make. Yotter first commented on an improved offensive line that kept quarterback Sam Bradford upright after he was sacked twice against the Bills.
The Vikings started the game with Rashod Hill (LT), Nick Easton (LG), Pat Elflein (C), Joe Berger (RG) and Mike Remmers (RT). Yotter wrote:
If [Riley] Reiff and [Alex] Boone return to the left side of the line against the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, the Vikings could be looking at their starting offensive line actually starting a game together in the preseason. The question is if Easton and Elflein will be on the field together and, if so, which one is at guard.
He added that Elflein's performance at center gave him "a chance to win the job."
The other three positives that Yotter focused on were rookies Cook, Jaleel Johnson and Tashawn Bower. Yotter said, "Linval Joseph is the clear starter at nose tackle, and it appears Tom Johnson will continue to start next to him," but that there are questions about the depth chart behind them.
*Rookie Jaleel Johnson made a very strong case to figure into the game-day rotation and has the ability to play both nose tackle and the three-technique. He finished second among Vikings with five tackles, including two for a loss, on Friday night. *
He might even pull ahead of Datone Jones at the three-technique and/or Shamar Stephen as a backup nose tackle.
Jaleel Johnson, Jayron Kearse led Vikings in PFF grades against Seahawks
Jaleel Johnson also garnered attention from Pro Football Focus.
The analytics site posted the five players who graded the highest from both the Vikings and the Seahawks. Johnson topped the list with a grade of 86.3. PFF's Alejandro Chavez wrote:
The Vikings fourth-round pick Jaleel Johnson was a force against the run, recording five stops on 15 run defensive snaps. Johnson also had a game high run defense grade of 90.4.
Next on the list were safety Jayron Kearse (83.7), defensive end Danielle Hunter (82.8), cornerback Marcus Sherels (82.6) and tight end Bucky Hodges (81.6).
The rookie tight end Hodges caught both of his two targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. Vikings [quarterback Taylor Heinicke] had a 158.3 quarterback rating when throwing to Hodges. The Vikings hope Hodges can become the move tight end that can keep making plays in the regular season.
Chavez also highlighted Stefon Diggs' performance that earned him an overall grade of 80.9.
Diggs caught [four] of his [five] targets against [three] different coverage defenders. Vikings [quarterback Sam Bradford] had a 118.8 quarterback rating when throwing at Diggs. Diggs also added 15 yards after the catch.
Chavez listed the highest-graded Seahawks players as defensive end David Bass (86.9), cornerback Neiko Thorpe (80.8), quarterback Russell Wilson (80.3), linebacker Bobby Wagner (79.4) and wide receiver Doug Baldwin (78.2).