The Minnesota Vikings' 2013 exhibition season is off to a glacial start. Two practice games, two ugly losses.
Before we go on, let's just get this out of the way immediately: Preseason stats are about as meaningful as cheerleader tryouts when it comes to forecasting the coming season.
Dissecting numbers from practice games is only slightly more valuable than doing the same at a Wednesday afternoon practice. Having said that, when the scoreboard is turned on and fans are in the seats, it's always important to put your best foot forward. Good practices are always better than bad ones.
With that out of the way, we can all take the next five slides with a giant grain of salt. As easy as it is to dismiss preseason games, roster spots are being won and lost, and the depth chart is moving this way and that way, depending on how these games unfold.
The Vikings wrapped things up in Mankato on Wednesday, ending a training camp, perhaps, most remembered for the mild weather. Unseasonably mild weather kept the Vikings cool throughout camp. On the downside, the Vikings play in their two preseason contests has been anything but hot as well.
Friday night's loss to the Buffalo Bills saw Minnesota trailing 20-3 well into the fourth quarter before two scores made the 20-16 loss slightly more palatable.
The Vikings were quick to shrug off Friday night's loss, as they should. Reigning MVP Adrian Peterson, once again, wasn't suited up, and the starters played just over a quarter of football for the most part. As Dan Wiederer of the Star-Tribune reports, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said as much:
The only thing I was saying to myself when everything was happening was, "OK. Glad it’s the preseason. Let’s get this out of the way now. Because we definitely don’t want to be doing this in September."
The Vikings first-team defense was exceptional on Friday night, but the offense definitely needs to sharpen things up next week against the San Francisco 49ers.
Minnesota's 0-2 start can quickly be dismissed as glorified practices. The Vikings have had a good, tight training camp and head to Eden Prairie next week in great health.
So with the two losses easily tossed aside, we can still look at the numbers and give you the most intriguing preseason stats for the Vikings so far.