Instant analysis of Vikings’ 26-20 preseason opening loss to Raiders

The Minnesota Vikings are leaving Las Vegas with a loss in Sunday’s preseason opener against the Raiders. But they’re also leaving with some positive takeaways from a game that was well within reach before the fourth quarter ended.

Costly penalties and being inefficient on third downs were a big reason why the Vikings came out on the losing end. That isn’t exactly going to help fans sleep better at night considering this franchise is notorious for shooting itself in the foot in close game situations.

Rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. committed 30 yards in penalties on one play, and the offense was only 1-of-7 in third-down conversions.

But the bright spots came up in the running game. Kene Nwangwu looked great as a ball-carrier, but no one was more impressive than rookie fifth-round draft pick Ty Chandler, who finished with five rushes for a team-high 50 yards.

He also had a 56-yard kick return.

Todd McShay once said he believed Chandler has starting potential in the NFL. If Sunday’s game is a glimpse of what’s to come, the former North Carolina prospect could be positioning himself as more than just a backup for the Vikings years down the road.

Along with the early glimpses of hope at running back, the team also got a good look at the backup quarterback battle between Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond.

Both made some good plays on the night, but it’s hard to walk away from that game and not be more impressed with Mond. Considering everything he went through last season with all of the drama involving former coach Mike Zimmer, this was a great statement game to prove he’s a legitimate threat to take the top backup role.

He finished the game 9-of-14 for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Mannion threw 8-of-12 for 79 yards.

The Vikings sat 10 of their starters, including quarterback Kirk Cousins (COVID), Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith.

So there’s still a lot of intrigue in seeing what coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense actually looks like with all of the pieces on the chessboard. Perhaps there’s still hope for a sneak peek in next Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.


Vikings release unofficial depth chart ahead of preseason

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire