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The Morning After: Five Observations From Vikings Vs. Texans

Photo: Aj Mansour (KFAN)

By: Aj Mansour |

Minneapolis, MN – Football games are generally a lot to take in on the spot. The use of instant replay helps to take a look back at a few particular plays, but to really walk away from a game and make grandiose opinions can sometimes be dangerous. So now that we’ve all had some time to sleep on it, here are five observations I walked away with off of Friday night’s 27-13 loss to the Houston Texans in Preseason Game number one.

(1) Cordarrelle Patterson is going to be fun…
The most obvious thing to have walked away from last night’s game impressed with was Cordarrelle Patterson. From the very opening kickoff, Patterson seemed to be running circles around Texans tacklers. Finishing his night with 4 catches for 54 yards on top of the opening kick return for 50-yards, not too shabby. You can CLICK HERE for my full report on Cordarrelle Patterson’s first game action.

(2) Ponder’s two pass debut was super frustrating, and not because of his INT…
Have you ever held a piece of food or a treat above your dogs mouth, slowly lowering it until their jaw begins to unhatch and open only to have you pull it away from them at the last second? That’s what last night was like for Vikings fans hoping to gauge the progress of quarterback Christian Ponder.

Out there for the first series, Ponder was looking to gain some momentum, put a drive together and prove that he was the leader that this offense so badly needed one year ago. First play of the game, Ponder completes a 15-yard post to Jerome Simpson, so far so good. Second-play, Simpson ran what looked to be a very similar route but this time shied away from what he expected to be contact across the middle and the ball bounced off of his finger tips and into the arms of a Texans safety. From there Ponder spent the rest of his evening on the sidelines watching his cohorts run the QB. Seriously? That’s it? Only two plays?

I understand the Vikings said going into the game that they were going to stick to a strict one-series decision for Ponder but two plays does not constitute a series and will not suffice if you are trying judge the progression of a QB that most people are doubting. Needless to say, we’ll see much more from Ponder in Preseason games two and three, but come one guys…two plays?

(3) Zach Line may be the Vikings new Toby Gerhart…
Coming out of college as the runner up for the Heisman trophy, Toby Gerhart was a stud but being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings put him smack dab in the middle of a backfield that was already occupied by the best running back in the league. There was little sharing going on, there was no controversy and Gerhart found himself buried on the depth chart more often than not. That may be exactly what will happen to RB/FB Zach Line this year.

Coming out of Souther Methodist University last spring, Line was no stranger to success. Having gained more all-purpose yards than SMU great Eric Dickerson, he ran for 47 rushing touchdowns throughout his career (also tying Dickerson’s record). So when Line broke through tackles on his way to a 61-yard touchdown reception Friday night it really didn’t surprise too many people. According to writer Jenny Vrentas, when Line crossed into the endzone on his first NFL touch, his mom was pushed to tears and his dad exclaimed that it was the sixth best moment of his life (after having each of his five children).

“That was quite a run by Zach,” Leslie Frazier said after the game. “We always knew he had the ability to run with the football.”

Line kind of faded off the rest of the game which may very well be a precursor towards what will come as rosters are cut down to 75 and then 53 players as the preseason closes. Line proved Friday night that he is talented, but in a backfield that is already too crowded, Minnesota may not be his final landing spot.

(4) John Carlson lining up wide in the Vikings passing sets…
After a disappointing and incredibly frustrating 2012 season that was riddled with injuries and the inability to become ingrained in the Vikings offense, John Carlson is back to give it at least one more go with the Vikings in 2013. A new wrinkle to John’s game and the Vikings utilization of him may have occurred last night when Carlson regularly was lining up out wide to the right side of the quarterback.

Typically working right off the end of the offensive line or maybe in the slot, lining up wide may be just another audition for Carlson to see what he can do and get him involved in this offense at any cost. Carlson has been one of those names tossed around as expendable if the cuts were to get tough, but he probably makes this team so finding out all of what he can do will be important for the Vikings this preseason.

Carlson finished the night with 2 catches (on 3 targets) for 17 yards.

(5) Despite a minor knee injury, Sharrif Floyd showed why he was projected high in the draft…
When rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was lying down on the field with head trainer Eric Sugarman leaning over him, Vikings fans were terrified that it was something serious. Why such a high level of concern for a rookie player? Because while he was out there, Floyd was terrorizing the Texans offensive line!

Showing the flexibility to move to either of the tackle positions, Floyd was regularly fighting his way into the Houston backfield and recorded both a tackle for loss and a blocked pass before the coaches opted to error on the side of caution and sidelined him after tweaking his knee.

For the record, Floyd said after the game that he could have returned and he will not miss any practice with the injury. Also for the record, even though he was playing against the second-string offensive line, Floyd could be something special in the middle for the Vikings future.

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

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