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Mannion, Sloter Shine as Backup QB Battle Heats Up

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings backup quarterback battle featured multiple shining moments Sunday night.

Sean Mannion and Kyle Sloter both turned in impressive performances in Minnesota's 25-19 win over Seattle in the second game of preseason play.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer had praise for each player Sunday night.

"He's had a good camp and he's had a couple good games," Zimmer said of Mannion.

"Sloter, he goes in the game, and he continues to do well," Zimmer added.

Mannion took over early in the second quarter for Kirk Cousins and promptly led the Vikings into the red zone.

But a mix-up with the quarterback and wide receiver Chad Beebe led to a pick-six by Seattle as the Seahawks grabbed a 10-3 lead.

Mannion, a five-year veteran, was unfazed by the turnover, as he came back later in the quarter to lead a seven-play, 63-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a 3-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Irv Smith, Jr.

"When I heard the call, and it was kind of tight near the end zone, I had a feeling I was going to have a chance to get the ball in the end zone," said Smith, Jr. "Sean did a great job of finding me and delivering the ball, and I made a play out there."

Both Zimmer and Cousins said they were happy to see Mannion bounce back after the turnover.

"There was one bad play, and it was really a miscommunication between Beebe and him," Zimmer said. "We'll try to clear that up and make sure that doesn't happen again. But it was nice to see him go back out there and play well."

Added Cousins: "You've got to respond … and Sean did."

Mannion completed 11 of 14 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 86.9 while finishing out the first half.

Sloter, who played the entire second half, completed 11 passes on 13 attempts for 116 yards and a touchdown. He had a passer rating of 129.5.

"I think for the most part, it was a smooth operation," Sloter said. "There's definitely things I can get better at. I know I've got to watch the play clock a little bit better. But overall, I was just really proud of the guys.

"My offensive line was great today. They kept me clean, and I don't think I was hit all day. Really proud of those guys," Sloter added. "And again, proud of the skill position guys … Mike Boone, in particular, ran the ball really hard. Just couldn't be happier for my guys."

Sloter threw his touchdown to Brandon Zylstra from 4 yards out, and also led another scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.

With the Vikings nursing a 17-16 lead, the quarterback marched the offense 84 yards in 12 plays to eat up more than seven minutes of clock before fullback Khari Blasingame scored on the ground from a yard out.

Boone's ensuing 2-point conversion run put the Vikings up nine and helped salt away the win.

Yet even after another solid performance, Sloter said he was excited to hit the film room and see where he could improve.

"I'm going to go in [Monday], and I'll get it for something," Sloter said. "It's never perfect, no matter what the stats or anything look like.

"They say that your best days are never as good as you think on film, and your worst days are never as bad as you think," Sloter added. "I'm excited to get back in and get back to work on Tuesday."

Cousins is the unquestioned starter in Minnesota, but the Vikings quarterback is impressed with the players behind him on the depth chart.

"I'll let the coaches and personnel department evaluate them," Cousins said. "But they're great players, great guys, great teammates … we have a great quarterback room.

"They're all deserving of being NFL quarterbacks, that's for sure," Cousins added. "Things have to sort themselves out, but I think you've seen now in the first two games that there is a good amount of depth on this team, and there's a good amount of guys who can go out there and be proficient when they play. That's a good thing for us as a team."