MINNEAPOLIS — The points may not have been there, but the production certainly was.
A week after the Vikings first-team offense struggled to get hardly anything going, quarterback Kirk Cousins and his group moved up and down the field against the Seahawks.
“I feel good about some of the things we did tonight,” said Cousins, who completed 17 of 28 passes for 182 yards. “I think there were a lot of positives and yet there is so much we know we have to go back and work on.”
Added Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer: “I thought there were some good things that happened in the ball game.”
The starters played the first half of Friday night’s 21-20 win over Seattle, running 42 plays for 209 yards, good for an average that was a hair under five yards per play.
In the second preseason game against the Jaguars, the offense ran 16 plays for just 13 yards.
The offense went seven-for-10 on third down, committed just one penalty for five yards and held the ball for 18-plus minutes.
“I think we did great. We had great drives, some really long drives,” said fullback C.J. Ham. “Our first drive took up seven minutes or so, so it was nice to stay on the field and convert on third down and win some critical situations.”
Cousins spread the wealth in the first half, as six different Vikings caught a pass from the quarterback.
Receivers Stefon Diggs had four catches for 51 yards, Adam Thielen had four receptions for 26 yards and Laquon Treadwell had three catches for 44 yards.
Cousins said he was generally pleased with the offense’s performance but noted he wasn’t too thrilled with his own showing.
“I liked that we got several guys involved,” Cousins said. “I liked that our O-line handled protections well … we got the ball out and avoided sacks.
“But there’s still several throws here, and I’ve made a list, that we didn’t hit, and it’s mostly me,” Cousins added.
But it was Ham and running back Latavius Murray who did most of the heavy lifting on Minnesota’s most impressive drive of the night, a series that spanned 97 yards and ended with Murray burrowing his way into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Murray and Ham combined for 68 total yards on the lengthy drive as the backs showed their versatility. Murray had 12 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards on the drive. Ham had 26 yards through the air.
“I feel like when the running backs are doing well, it brings up the energy of the whole offense,” Ham said. “For us to get out in the passing game like that and have some explosive plays, it definitely helps the quarterback, the O-line … it really gets us rolling.”
The Vikings also saw the return of running back Dalvin Cook, who played four snaps and had two carries for a yard. It was Cook’s first game since tearing his ACL in Week 4 against Detroit in the 2017 season.
With Cook getting back in the fold, combined with contributions of Murray and Ham, the Vikings could boast one of the top backfields in the league.
“We want to be playmakers and do our job and help this offense be successful,” Murray said. “When we’re able to make plays running the ball and catching it out of the backfield, we know it’s a great system for the offense.”
And it would only help an offense that looks to keep progressing as the regular season looms.
“We are getting the whole gang back out there,” Cook said. “Everybody is getting healthy … it’s part of everybody being ready for the regular season.
“We want to be out there for the preseason so we can get snaps, but everybody has to be ready for the regular season,” Cook added.