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Siemian, Sloter Lead Offenses in Preseason Finale

Kirk Cousins got the night off Thursday in Nashville, but the Vikings other three quarterbacks saw plenty of work.

Trevor Siemian got the start and played the first half. Kyle Sloter came on in relief for the majority of the second half before giving way to rookie Peter Pujals.

Siemian, who completed six of 11 passes for 55 yards, seemed to get better as the game went along.

"I thought he played better tonight. That was good to see," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "He had good command in the huddle when he got the guys in the right place, helped some of these young receivers out in a lot of ways, so I thought he did better."

Minnesota's first two drives went three-and-out before the Vikings moved the chains with a 12-yard pass from Siemian to running back Roc Thomas.

Siemian then led a scoring drive at the end of the first half as rookie Daniel Carlson hit a 39-yard field goal to tie the game.

Siemian's best throw of the night came on fourth-and-5 from the Titans 49-yard line when he hit wide receiver Brandon Zylstra for a 20-yard gain to put the Vikings in field goal range.

"A little slow early on, certainly you'd like a little more rhythm early on," Siemian said. "But I thought we got something going there a little bit toward the end of the second quarter.

"You get a small sample size and you'd like to keep playing as you get into the game a little bit, but that's how it goes," Siemian added.

Sloter wrapped up an impressive preseason by completing 11 of 15 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 121.5.

Zimmer said Sloter's attention to details was better against Tennessee than Seattle.

"I thought he did better tonight, actually, than last week," Zimmer said. "He moved better in the huddle, he was better at communicating plays, he was better at clock management, knowing when the clock was running down.

"I thought all those things were much better tonight than last week," Zimmer added.

Sloter played four series, leading a pair of scoring drives.

The Vikings got a big 53-yard kickoff return from Holton Hill to open the second half, which led to another Carlson field goal.

Sloter later drove the Vikings inside the 5-yard line but his fourth-down sneak was stuffed for no gain. The second-year quarterback ended on a high note by firing a 24-yard touchdown to Zylstra on his final pass of the night.

"I just saw a matchup that I liked. Brandon Zylstra's a guy that I feel like can win jump balls," Sloter said. "He's fast, he runs great routes. I saw I had a smaller corner out there, and I threw him the ball and tried to give him a chance.

"He caught it, put both feet down and scored," Sloter added.

Said Zylstra: "Kyle made a great throw, back shoulder where only I could get it, so it's all on him. I didn't have to do much. I just had to turn around and catch it."

Zimmer, who said last week that Siemian was the clear backup, was asked about Sloter having a better stat line than Siemian.

"No, we don't really look at numbers," Zimmer said. "We look at performance and when they play, we look at practice, we look at everything that they've done. So that doesn't really matter."

Siemian said he welcomed the challenge from Sloter and noted that there is always competition around the league.

"In this league, you're always trying to improve and you're competing every week," Siemian said. "If you're feeling pretty settled at any position, then I think you're probably in trouble. For me, I wanted to improve this preseason, and I think I've done that."

Pujals, an undrafted rookie from Holy Cross, closed out the final two drives for the Vikings in his first game action. He completed his lone pass for eight yards.

But it will be all about Cousins on Sept. 9 when the Vikings open the 2018 season at home against the San Francisco 49ers.