Monday, August 27, 2007

Putting Off the Questions

Saturday's game was an interesting one, in that in answered some questions well...actually, it didn't really answer too many questions. Rather, it put them off, showing us glimpses of both positive and negative answers.

The biggest question everyone had coming into the game was whether Tarvaris Jackson had what it took to be the starting quarterback. And based on what we saw, the answer is: kind of. He started out the game by completing 9 of his first 13 passes, but then finished it with five straight incompletions, many of them on deeper throws, something he needs to improve considerably. He also showed that he's willing to stay in the pocket and make his reads, rather than pulling the ball down and running at the first hint of pressure. Of course, the fact that he didn't scramble meant that he failed to use a potent weapon in his arsenal. And there was the fumbled snap. Not the best way to start out the game. Finally, Jackson has yet to throw or run for a touchdown. I'm not sure whether or not that's something Vikings' fans should be worried about, however, since he has lead two drives that culminated with touchdowns (One of which was Bobby Wade's pass to Visanthe Shiancoe on a nifty play that SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN USED IN THE PRESEASON. There's no need to use trick plays in games that don't count. Especially when you have a quarterback that could use the red zone experience.)

That wasn't the only question that the game didn't answer. Those hoping to see whether the newest Vikings, Robert Ferguson and Fred Evans, would make an impact were left wondering if Ferguson's one catch for 11 yards (He had one other pass thrown his way) and Evans' two tackles were signs of bigger things to come or if that's all the Vikings can look forward too from their "big" training camp picks.

Not all of the ambiguous answers leaned to the positive, however. The Vikings special teams continued to be awful. Ryan Longwell missed another field goal, his third miss of the preseason. Chris Kluwe had a twenty yard punt. And that was from the Vikings' 31 yard line. The kickoff team gave up returns of 26 yds, 13 yds (after Longwell's squib kick was fielded at the 13 yard line) and 38 yards. And the return squad didn't do much better, with Aundrae Allison and Chandler Williams averaging 23 yds and 22 yds respectively.

Williams didn't make much of an impact in the return game and he also failed to make much of an impact as a reciever, catching one short pass for 4 yds. Of course, that was one more reception than Martin Nance, Billy McMullin or Todd Lowbar caught. The first round of cuts (trimming the roster to 75) comes tomorrow afternoon, with those surviving getting one more preseason game to make an impression before the roster has to be cut down to 53.

Next: Defense questions that weren't answered
After that: Can Kelly Holcombe play backup QB? How awesome are Chester and AD? And more!

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