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Vikings 1st-Team Defense Yields Yards, Not Points, in Preseason Opener

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer didn't like the yardage allowed by Minnesota's first-team defense in its only series on Friday in Cincinnati, but at least the unit kept the scoreboard clean.

The Bengals moved the ball 43 yards before facing their first third down of the game. Cincinnati's drive, however, stalled at the Minnesota 30-yard line, and kicker Mike Nugent missed a 48-yard field goal try wide right.

"We've got a long way to go," Zimmer said. "We're not ready to go where we need to yet."

Starting at their own 27-yard line, Cincinnati tallied three passes for 23 yards and a pair of runs for 13 yards to open the game.

Minnesota's defense then came to life, stuffing Bengals running back Giovani Bernard for a 2-yard loss. Cincinnati then completed a 9-yard pass before a third-down try fell incomplete as cornerback Trae Waynes smothered Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green.

The Vikings first-team unit, who was missing three 2015 starters in defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Eric Kendricks and cornerback Terence Newman, allowed 43 yards in all before the missed kick. Cincinnati held the ball for more than three-and-a-half minutes.

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Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway told sideline reporter Ben Leber during the game that he wasn't too impressed with the unit's first performance. Greenway mentioned the run defense as an area that needs to improve.

"You hope just because it's early, we need to get better at that across the board," Greenway said. "In that first quarter, it was just too much.

"The drives lasted too long. We have to get off the field, and the run defense has to improve," he added. "That's something we have to get better at over time. If we can make that what we do well, our forte, with our pass defense, we're going to be really good."

Minnesota's defense finished fifth in the NFL last season allowing 18.9 points per game. The first-team unit didn't allow any points on Friday, but Zimmer sounded ready to get back to work with his defense at practice this week following the 17-16 win.

"Not good enough," Zimmer said of the performance.

View images of the Vikings first preseason victory at Paul Brown Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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