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Wide Left: 5 key observations at halfway point of Vikings preseason

You may have noticed that Kirk Cousins is taking more shots downfield.
Jayron Kearse

Wide Left is written by Vikings superfan Blair Anderson, who convinced Bring Me The News that it was a good idea to give him a platform to unleash his emotions. It feels like a good idea now, but honestly, we're a little worried about what will happen once the Vikings lose a few games.

With that, here are Blair Anderson's reasons for optimism at the halfway point of the preseason. 

1. The new offense will go downfield a lot more

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably in 10 fantasy football leagues, so you’ve been reading about the Vikings offense that presumes the Vikings are going to run the ball every chance they can get and torpedo the value of their wide receivers. While they may have the volume tilted toward the run, the passing game will still get a boost with their ability to throw downfield.

In two preseason games this season, Cousins has averaged 11.1 yards per attempt. It may not seem like much, but last year, Cousins was hamstrung by John DeFilippo’s screen fest and the Vikings craptacular offensive line and averaged 7.1 yards per attempt. By doing something as simple as throwing the ball further, the Vikings passing attack could be more potent than it was a year ago.

Now, there are things that can be improved. Cousins still needs to get used to plucking the ball out of Bradbury Falls (I’m trademarking this nickname for Garrett Bradbury’s crotch by the way) every play and he needs to be smarter than throwing a seven yard pass when it’s first and goal from the 14 yard line. That being said, things look good and should continue to improve as we get closer to these games counting.

2. Adam Thielen is still good at football

Another fun part of the offense is that the Vikings still have Adam Thielen. You may have heard that he went to Mankato State, but we’ll skip that part because he’s completely ridiculous. After the Vikings first drive stalled, Thielen got open for a 34-yard connection with Cousins that jumpstarted a Minnesota scoring drive. On the next play, Thielen got deep again and drew a pass interference penalty when he was judo chopped trying to come down with the ball.

It was another nice performance by Thielen, who shows no signs of coming back to earth after ridiculous 2017 and 2018 seasons. While it has been a quiet preseason for Stefon Diggs, I’m not too worried as both receivers feed off each other and don’t really care who gets the stats. That’s why I’m buying into this new offense in 2019.

3. Don’t worry about Dalvin Cook

If you ask me who one of the most important players on this Vikings team is, I would tell you that his name is Dalvin Cook. Yes, Alexander Mattison has been impressive this preseason, but Cook brings that extra dynamic that could take any handoff to the house at any moment.

Yet, we still have some rumblings about Cook not playing in either preseason game so far. Although the excuse of not wanting to run Cook out on some new turf is a new one, why on earth would the Vikings want to risk putting him out there considering his history. Put him in bubble wrap and turn him loose when the Atlanta Falcons come to town on Sept. 8.

4. Jayron Kearse is a missile

The Vikings had this idea when the offseason started that they wanted to get Kearse on the field more after a solid 2018 season. With Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith occupying the safety spots, the question was how. After the rumor that the Vikings wanted to move him to linebacker proved to be nothing, the Vikings look like they’re just going to use him however the hell they want.

On Sunday, Kearse was all over the field and made a couple flashy plays late in the first and into the second quarter. His strong suit remains his tackling and he should be a great asset to have as some depth and a sub-package nightmare for opposing offensive lines. Mix in his special teams value, and this guy is a beast waiting to be unleashed.

5. Holton Hill can’t stop getting suspended

I’m just going to assume the NFL is going to be giving Hill a call after his head first tackle on Paxton Lynch. To be fair, Lynch was sliding, but Hill definitely went in like he was going to bury the top of his helmet into Lynch’s rib cage if he didn’t slide. Just as Hill was starting to get a look on the practice field, his eight game suspension that could easily turn into nine or ten this week, could officially spell the end for him in Minnesota.

Bonus: Pete Carrol is a tool

Carroll is the oldest coach in the NFL, but you would never guess that with his demeanor on the sideline. He looks like he’s well on his way to becoming the real life version of Blue from Old School and it’s almost like he’s ready to rip off his shirt after consuming one too many White Claws and scream “COMPETITION” at any moment. Also, any man who makes a challenge in a preseason game, should instantly burn in hell.

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