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Bleacher Report – Vikings

What do the Vikings want to see from their first-team offense vs. Seattle?

By Matthew Coller

Before we dive into Friday night’s game, let’s make one thing clear: Preseason stat lines are not predictive of regular season performance.

Last year, Kirk Cousins posted a 72.0 quarterback rating and then promptly went on to throw for over 4,000 yards and earn an $84 million guaranteed contract. But that doesn’t mean Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings prefer a repeat of last week’s performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the Vikings’ second preseason game, Cousins went just 3-for-8 with 12 yards as the offense sputtered through a handful of drives. Head coach Mike Zimmer put some of the struggles on facing the Jaguars in joint practices prior to last Saturday’s game.

“When you go against guys every day, I don’t know if it’s ever really a good test because the defense knows a lot of their plays and they’re still installing, but I thought they looked a lot better today,” Zimmer said on Wednesday. “Hopefully they look good Friday night.”

Cousins was also matching up against an outstanding front four without his starting right tackle, right guard, center and left guard. The Vikings will still be without Pat Elflein at center — he’s recovering from offseason shoulder and ankle surgery and it remains unclear when he will return — and left guard Nick Easton is done for the season, but Zimmer said right guard Mike Remmers and right tackle Rashod Hill should get some playing time against Seattle.

“This one hopefully will be a better picture,” Cousins said. “Still hard to tell. But in practice we trade blows with the defense. We go down here on a drive and score but then they may have a great play and stop us on another period of practice. You just trade blows back and forth and it’s hard to know where you are as a team.”

The first-team offense is expected to play at least the entire first half on Friday night. It’s possible Dalvin Cook could also see his first action of the preseason, giving the Vikings much more of a regular season look than the first two weeks.

“I think it does take the first few weeks of the regular season to really evaluate where you are as a team, as an offense,” Cousins said. “We’ll do the best we can and that is where this Friday night we are all pretty excited to for this opportunity to get some level of measuring stick for where we are.”

In the Vikings’ first preseason game against the Denver Broncos, Cousins came out hot, going 4-for-4 with a touchdown pass and a downfield completion to Stefon Diggs. Cousins maintains that the pluses of the first game and minuses of the second contest are such a small sample that it’s hard to get any feel for where they stand as an offense — and the Vikings hope to have a better idea of the final touches after Friday.

“I think this next game will be a better indication,” he said. “But I think that’s my challenge in the past as well, in training camp, in preseason and OTAs is you just don’t really know truly where you are until you get up and play some games and get in live action for a few weeks.”

Worth watching when the first team is playing against the Seahawks will be the offensive line combinations and whether any of the down-the-depth-chart receivers like Kendall Wright, Chad Beebe, Cayleb Jones and Brandon Zylstra get chances to play with Cousins.

The post What do the Vikings want to see from their first-team offense vs. Seattle? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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