The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 26-20 on Sunday, the franchise’s first preseason game of 2022.
The contest marked the first quasi-meaningful game for new head coach Kevin O’Connell as the Vikings moved on from Mike Zimmer in January.
These are five items learned from the Vikings-Raiders exhibition bout.
1. Sean Mannion Still Isn’t a Viable QB2
At some point, somebody who matters will realize Mannion is not a valuable on-the-field performer. He might be Christ-like in the locker room, and that is fine. However, for the Vikings to consider handing Mannion the scepter in the event of a Kirk Cousins injury a wise move — is continued lunacy.
Mannion missed throws, wasn’t mobile, and looked exactly the same as his 2019 and 2021 regular season performances. He completed eight passes for 79 yards.
Perhaps the new coaching staff finally had a lightbulb moment, illuminating the silliness of auditioning Mannion anywhere near a QB2 spot. His primary competitor was clearly more efficient.
2. Rookie CB Andrew Booth Had a Rough Day
Booth gave up a big gain in the first half — and was flagged for two penalties on the same play. The Raiders marched down the field accordingly. Both penalties were assessed on the single play, even after Booth surrendered the reception. Pass Interference and Facemask infractions. It was a triple whammy.
And then that was about it for Booth, evidently calling it a day after the rocky start.
Regardless, Booth will be fine, looking to rebound next Saturday at home versus the San Francisco 49ers. But he would’ve preferred a better opening salvo in the league.
3. LB Brian Asamoah Did Not Have a Rough Day
Conversely, rookie linebacker Brian Asamoah was flying all over the place — avoiding dual penalties on the same play — impressing in his makeshift NFL debut.
The Vikings already have Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks slated to start in September. Yet, with Asamoah’s speed — that was on display in Las Vegas — he’ll be a wonderful option when called upon.
It was “only preseason,” but Asamoah looked the part.
4. The Vikings Depth RBs Are the Real Deal
The highlight of the game? Ty Chandler.
Chandler won the day, beyond the shadow of a doubt. And his RB3 copilot, Kene Nwangwu, played well, too. Every time Chandler touched the ball, he broke off chunk yardage. For a day, he looked like some team’s RB1.
You won’t be too anxious when Dalvin Cook misses his customary 2-3 games in 2022. Assuming Nwangwu is mixed into the offense like he was in Las Vegas, he’ll expand the Vikings offense to its speedy limit. Chandler might’ve been the best player on the field at Allegiant Stadium (again, if only for a day).
5. Kellen Mond Outwardly Won the QB2 Job
Mond wasn’t perfect, but few QB2s do perfect anything. That’s why they’re QB2s. He missed a couple of pass-catchers downfield — as in, he didn’t even see them — and failed to connect on a pass following a dazzling escape-artist shimmy versus the Raiders defense.
However, the man threw two touchdowns and 114 yards. His elusiveness and wherewithal to actually lead an offense down the field made Mannion look like, well, Mannion.
The Vikings may continue to split snaps between Mond and Mannion because the franchise has a strange loyalty to Mannion. But Mond won the QB2 job, at least to the naked eye.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).