Let's start by being honest: the Minnesota Vikings looked dreadful last night. Actually, dreadful might be too gracious.
The team put on a pitiful display of what some would call football, and it looked more like a high school powder-puff game to me.
Trust me, I have heard all the excuses. "They've only had 10 practices", "They didn't want to show the whole playbook," blah, blah, blah blah.
The Vikings might be able to blame 40 percent of the meltdown to the Tennessee Titans on rust, but the other 60 percent was just incompetence. Players looked slow, tired, and over matched. A lot of the fundamentals just were not there.
As bad, and let me stress the word bad, that the Vikings looked, their were five things that game me a glimmer of hope.
Let's take a look at five things that show hope for the men in purple and gold.
If there were any question that Erin Henderson was in a battle for the starting WLB job, then he answered it last night.
Henderson's name seemed to be called on every defensive stop.
No, seriously it really might have been.
Usually watching his older brother E.J. tear it up for the Vikings from the sideline, Erin stole the show last night finishing with 10 combined tackles.
Erin Henderson looked like the only defensive veteran that came to play and I'm sure he left an imprint on the coaching staff.
Henderson is young, (25) and explosive and will be a solid upgrade for the Vikings line-backing corps in 2011.
Looks like coach Mike Singletary is doing some good.
Jaymar Johnson hasn't seen a lot of the field in his first two seasons with the Vikings, but he has certainly brought the hype coming into 2011.
Johnson is a speed demon and last night he solidified his place as the Vikings 2011 punt returner.
It didn't take many opportunities for Johnson to shine.
He had one return for 40 yards and his speed dropped the jaws of Vikings fans around the nation.
FINALLY JAYMAR! Just please stay healthy.
Johnson also earned some time at wide receiver and had one catch for 14 yards and showed some solid hands.
Beware special teams units across the NFL; Jaymar Johnson may be the best kept secret in football.
Is it sad the Vikings only could muster one sack last night? Simple answer: Yes.
What is exciting though, is that the one sack came from rookie defensive tackle, Christian Ballard.
Ballard was a fourth round pick in this year's draft but was a highly touted prospect ranking as the eighth best defensive tackle prospect in a deep 2011 draft class.
He would have been a second round pick, but he made some mistakes and tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
Ballard has been playing on the second team defense and looked explosive last night.
He destroyed the Tennessee Titans offensive line for his sack and looked quick all game long.
Ballard could be looked as a gem for a long time and could make an immediate impact in 2011.
Keep it up, Ballard, and stay away from the pot!
The second Christian to make the list probably has a little more pressure on his shoulders than the first.
Christian Ponder was the Vikings first round selection in 2011, with the 12th overall pick.
Ponder, a highly touted quarterback out of Florida State received his first pro action last night as the third quarterback for the Vikings.
Ponder excelled and received his first professional action after only 10 total practices with his new Vikings offense.
In only such a short time to prepare for his professional debut, Ponder went 8 for 13 for 84 yards.
He looked poised, calm and accurate all night long and showed great promise.
Ponder also showed he can scramble and flush out of the pocket with a great under hand pitch to fullback Matt Asiata while on the run.
Ponder played behind a very poor offensive line that caused him to be sacked three times but he did not falter and played very poised for a rookie with zero experience.
Vikings fans, Christian Ponder is the future and you will all soon fall in love with his accuracy, scrambling abilities, and leadership skills.
This has to be the brightest spot that came from the Viking vs. Titan debacle.
Pre-season is a crucial time for all teams to prepare for the upcoming season.
It's also the time of the year where teams become riddled with injuries as it's the first time players are taking legitimate hits from competition in months.
Last night, the Vikings and Titans played hard and thankfully no injuries came from the awful loss.
I know, it is only week one of pre-season football but the first game is usually the toughest to get through.
Let's wish all NFL teams continued health, and hope the Vikings stay the healthiest of course!