October 20, 2021

5 Takeaways: Starters Struggle as Vikings Wrap Up Winless Preseason – Vikings.com


1. Rough start for the 1st-team defense

Zimmer had about half of his starting defense on the field to open Friday’s game, as Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Patrick Peterson did not play.

But the other five starters (and the entire unit) didn’t inspire much confidence against quarterback Patrick Mahomes and a high-octane Kansas City offense.

The Chiefs scored touchdowns on both of Mahomes’ drives before he went to the sideline for the night. He was 8-of-9 passing for 117 yards and two scores to compile a perfect NFL passer rating of 158.3.

Bashaud Breeland was beaten deep for a 35-yard Tyreek Hill score on the first drive, while Mahomes tossed a 5-yard score to former Vikings tight end Blake Bell later in the first quarter.

All in all, the Vikings allowed 149 yards on the 15 plays Mahomes was on the field, with three plays of at least 20 yards.

The Vikings also had a few missed tackles, including one by Sheldon Richardson on a screen pass. Xavier Woods, who made his Vikings preseason debut, was called for a facemask on the play.

2. Ups and downs for young safeties

As mentioned above, Harrison Smith didn’t play, and Woods was only in for a handful of snaps.

That meant Camryn Bynum and Myles Dorn got the majority of the reps at safety with a chance to impress coaches before rosters are reduced to 53 players Tuesday.

There was some good — Bynum had a solid tackle in the flat, and Dorn came flying in to knock a receiver out of bounds to force an incompletion — in the first half.

But the half ended on a sour note when the Chiefs threw a 23-yard touchdown to the post that split Bynum and Dorn.

“We got the young safeties in there, and they’re not communicating very well,” Zimmer said at halftime. “They’re getting a lot of different looks, so they’ve got to do a better job that way.”

Bynum (and the rest of the reserve defensive players) also showed up in a bad way when they failed to stop a 56-yard touchdown by Derrick Gore on a screen pass.

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