Vikings-Bills Yahoo! Box Score
Preseason games can give little pleasure on their own: they are all about the future. Performances in the preseason give us some things to be optimistic about, and some things that make us want to cover our eyes in terror.
Things to like
The defense disrupting passes
Both around the line of scrimmage and in the secondary, Viking defenders did a good job deflecting passes and making completions difficult. Harrison Smith had one really notable deflection on a blitz, but he wasn't the only defender who looked like a real playmaker. Josh Robinson made a nice play on a ball in the secondary.
The defense against the run
After the horror show against the 49ers, it seemed the Vikings did a much better job getting to ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage, and were effective tackling on outside runs. I'm actually thinking this might be another "for some reason the defense is good at home and atrocious on the road" years--which, if you just thought the defense was going to be atrocious altogether, is actually encouraging.
I want to see two things: accuracy on all passes, and the ability/willingness to take shots deep. Ponder showed both.
Might the Vikings actually have two playmaking WRs that can do something once they get the ball? Is it possible?
It's best if you don't even really have to think about your team's kicker. If Walsh is a generally reliable field goal kicker (it looks promising) and gets good distance on his kickoffs (it looks promising), then the position has been dealt with cheaply and can be forgotten about by us, the fans.
Things to dislike
It looked like the offensive line got confused by some really simple defensive movements, and Ponder was left running around or getting walloped. I'm hoping this isn't a talent issue but an experience issue: there are a lot of new players on the offensive line working together for the first time, and it will take some time and experience together to be effective at what is really the communal work of protecting the quarterback.
Joe Webb was made a QB in 2010
I don't see Webb ever becoming a competent professional passer, yet he is so talented running with the ball, sitting him at backup QB seems a waste. If he had stayed in development as a WR over the last two years, maybe right now we'd have a real talent at the position that could regularly help the offense (or even special teams).