The Minnesota Vikings fell to 0-2 in the preseason last weekend, losing to the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium 17-7.
Not many positives arose from the contest for Minnesota, but a handful of performers stood out per Pro Football Focus. The game was also a catalyst for change at quarterback, as Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded a conditional 7th-Round draft pick to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday for veteran passer Nick Mullens. Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion didn’t shine versus the 49ers, so Minnesota pounced on an alternative QB2 option for cheap.
Even in poor preseason games, though, standout performers emerge. These are those men for the Vikings on Saturday, with their respective PFF grades:
- Austin Schlottmann (C) = 92.2
- T.Y. McGill (DT) = 91.9
- Jonathan Bullard (DT) = 91.0
- Nick Muse (TE) = 90.7
- Harrison Hand (CB) = 84.1
Schlottmann thickened the plot at center, a rough-and-tumble spot for the Vikings this summer. The Vikings will tentatively lean on incumbent center Garrett Bradbury, who is in a contract year, hoping to solve his longstanding pass-protecting woes. But if Bradbury encounters familiar pass-protecting struggles, Schlottmann could be a reservist option, at least per his preseason performance.
On the defensive line, McGill is doing his best to become “cutproof,” as Minnesota must trim 27 players from the roster in one week. McGill was tabbed by most as an end-of-summer roster cut, but his play against the Raiders and 49ers this preseason has onlookers thinking not so fast. McGill recorded five tackles, four QB hits, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for loss versus the 49ers.
Bullard is listed around “DE3” on the Vikings current unofficial depth chart, and his output against San Francisco didn’t hurt his stock. He’s an NFL journeyman who played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2021. The Florida alumnus can be considered a true-blue roster-bubble candidate.
Muse might’ve landed a seat on the 2022 practice squad after the 49ers game. He is unlikely to make the 53-man roster as Minnesota already has Irv Smith, Johnny Mundt, Ben Ellefson, and Zach Davidson parked in front of Muse on the aforementioned depth chart. The practice squad seems like an apropos destination for Muse, a rookie.
Finally, Hand could find no justice this week. Despite his impressive-but-limited preseason production against the 49ers, the Vikings waived the third-year corner on Tuesday. Perhaps Hand’s fate is a lesson on PFF grades and the preseason.
The poor performers from the second week of the preseason?
- Myron Mitchell (WR) = 42.3
- T.J. Smith (DT) = 41.3
- Kellen Mond (QB) = 40.5
- Janarius Robinson (EDGE) = 38.1
- William Kwenkew (LB) = 34.1
- Zach Davidson (TE) = 30.0
The Vikings travel to Denver for the final preseason game of the year on Saturday.
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).