Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Minimal Preseason Action Complete, Vikings Offense Turns to Week 1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Here is the final tally for the Vikings first-team offense in preseason play: 30 total plays for 138 yards and three points.

And while that isn't the most aesthetically-looking stat line, it's important to put some context behind it, too.

Running back Dalvin Cook didn't see the field in preseason play. The running back, a two-time Pro Bowler, is the focal point of the Vikings entire offense and opens up the passing game.

Speaking of that, phenom Justin Jefferson was on the sideline all preseason, too, with a shoulder injury. That should be cleared up by Week 1, meaning he can build off a rookie season in which he set a Super Bowl-era record with 1,400 receiving yards with no preseason experience in 2020.

And the reliable Adam Thielen was on the field for just five plays, none of them on Friday night in preseason finale loss to the Chiefs.

All of that is to say that Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer isn't overly concerned.

"I feel like we are going to be pretty good, but we've still got to go out and prove it," Zimmer said.

Vikings tight end Irv Smith, Jr., believes his unit will be just fine, too.

"I think it's going to be very scary, honestly," Smith said. "Having all those guys … we have a lot of talent on this offense, and we're just excited to get to it. It's been a long camp and it's time for the season to start.

"With the type of players we have and how competitive we are on this team, I'm very, very excited to get everybody back on the field," Smith later added. "Having all of these guys on the field at the same time, we feel like we're going to be a hard group to stop."

Smith stood out in limited action Friday night, catching two passes for 39 yards on the Vikings opening possession.

"It felt good getting out there. We wanted to start fast as an offense, that's something we talked about a lot," Smith said. "Just coming out and trying to make as many plays as possible. My number was called early, so I tried to make a play as best I can."

Kirk Cousins played 15 snaps for the second straight preseason game. He completed 5 of 7 passes for the second week in a row (but increased his passing yardage total to 57 from 23). He was also sacked once.

The Vikings quarterback said Friday he believes the unit will be healthy and raring to go on Sept. 12 in Cincinnati.

"I feel good. I've got a great rapport with our coaches, with the plan. I really like the plan, and I feel good about our unit," Cousins said. "I'm excited about our guys, and now that we're getting close to the real thing, we really have to get ready to go, get our guys healthy, and start fast."

Cousins led the Vikings to a field goal on the opening drive, but the next two possessions went nowhere.

And after three series, he exchanged his helmet and spot in the huddle for a ballcap on and a view from the sideline.

"We planned on not playing him very long anyway, and I wanted to make sure we got out [of the game] healthy," Zimmer said. "He took a pretty good shot on that second drive, but I think if you look at a lot of the guys that played that are probably not really ready to play yet, so I've been very cautious about playing some of our guys because of injuries.

"If we get the wrong guys hurt, we're going to struggle in a lot of ways," Zimmer added.

View action photos from the Vikings-Chiefs preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium.

So while the Vikings did go 0-for-3 in the preseason and scored just two offensive touchdowns, the team kept its focus on being as healthy as possible for Week 1 against the Bengals. Minnesota will visit Cincinnati for a noon (CT) kickoff on Sept. 12.