Christian Ponder didn't take a snap, and Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings barely donned the pads, but Vikings fans got a good glimpse of third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson in a 24-23 win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday at the Dome.
The verdict? Let the McLeod Bethel-Thompson era begin! Actually, he played just fine, replacing Matt Cassel early and leading the Vikings on a final drive to let Blair Walsh nail a 25-yarder to put the Vikings ahead for good in a seesaw battle.
His stat line: 19 for 26 with 187 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Cassel was 3-for-3 for 48 yards.
Both teams were a little uncertain on both sides of the ball - it is still preseason, after all - but fans got their money's worth in a game that changed leads eight times. Marcus Sherels had a big night, returning a kick for 109 yards and touchdown that ignited the second half for the Purple. That put the Vikings ahead 21-17.
Sherels also had a pick shortly thereafter in the 3rd quarter, stopping what looked to be a drive where the Titans were rolling toward the end zone.
Tennessee scored first, then Matt Asiata scored from one-yard out to put the Vikings up 7-3. Asiata saw a lot of action, with eight carries for 32 yards in the first half.
Another Viking score came with Bethel-Thompson pass to Joe Banyard for 11 yards and a short-lived Viking lead in the 2nd quarter.
Banyard led the team in rushing and receiving, with 62 yards on 13 carries and seven catches for 54 yards.
The rest, after the Sherels show, was all kicks and misses - Walsh shanked a 40-yarder late in the game that would have made the coasting clear for the Vikes. But he came through with 1:38 left in the game.
One injury note, Vikings Guard Seth Olsen spent about 10 minutes injured on the turf and had to leave the game on a stretcher. No word yet on the severity of the injury.