SD-MIN grades: QB Teddy Bridgewater continues impressive preseason
Minnesota Vikings 23, San Diego Chargers 10
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings’ 23-10 preseason Week 3 win over the Chargers.
Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers, 67.8; Kellen Clemens, 49.8; Mike Bercovici, 40.8
Familiar failings hamper Rivers’ performance
Only seven quarterbacks were pressured more frequently than Rivers in 2015. The Chargers’ starting quarterback didn’t have a great game by any stretch, hitting on screens and checkdowns predominantly (just one completion of over 10 yards in the air), but he was let down by an offensive line struggling to keep him upright. In front of a raucous Minnesota crowd hailing the opening of their new stadium, San Diego could not cope. Rivers was pressured on nine of 17 dropbacks, completing five of seven attempts for 40 yards. He managed only nine completions from 15 attempts for 77 yards overall.
Top offensive grades
RT Chris Hairston, 75.2
WR Rasheed Bailey, 71.9
WR Travis Benjamin, 71.0
HB Melvin Gordon, 68.7
QB Philip Rivers, 67.8
Playmaking pair of Benjamin, Allen should feature
More positively, Travis Benjamin looks like the perfect deep complement to Keenan Allen. The former Brown caught a pair of first downs (17 yards) from five targets, generating separation throughout. RB Melvin Gordon, meanwhile, carried four times for 51 yards and a touchdown, breaking two tackles in the process. Right tackle Chris Hairston played mostly with the backups once Joe Barksdale was injured, but filled in admirably allowing just two pressures from 27 dropbacks. Still, losing their top starter would be catastrophic for an already struggling offensive line.
Top defensive grades
S Dexter McCoil, 84.2
OLB Melvin Ingram, 82.7
OLB Ben Gardner, 80.3
CB Richard Crawford, 78.4
S Adrian McDonald, 75.1
OLB Melvin Ingram could be in for huge year
Melvin Ingram flashed his entire skill-set in his 34 snaps Sunday afternoon. Beating T.J. Clemmings with his explosion off the snap, he managed a pair of pressures in his eight rushes. Ingram added a pair of stops in the run game, and set the edge intelligently on an end-around. To cap off an excellent game, he forced a field goal with tight coverage on a red-zone incompletion. Ingram could be a game-changer defensively for the Chargers in 2016.
Quarterback grades: Teddy Bridgewater, 81.1; Shaun Hill, 68.6; Joel Stave, 62.4
High grade for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
The Vikings’ coaching staff will be intensely satisfied with Teddy Bridgewater’s (likely final) preseason outing. He completed 12 of 16 attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown, including all three attempts under pressure for 66 yards and his solo score. Threading the needle perfectly, Bridgewater connected down the seam for six against Manti Te’o in cover-2. He also busted off a long gain on a scramble.
Top offensive grades
C Joe Berger, 82.4
LT Jeremiah Sirles, 82.4
TE David Morgan II, 81.7
QB Teddy Bridgewater, 81.1
FB Zach Line, 80.3
Vikings’ physicality evident across offensive positions
All four of Minnesota’s top-performing players recorded run-blocking grades of at least 79.0. Rookie TE David Morgan II, who stood out at Texas-San Antonio, led the team with an 88.2 grade in that regard. Berger and Sirles also managed perfect games in pass protection, earning a clean sheet on 14 and 18 snaps, respectively.
Top defensive grades
CB Mackensie Alexander, 88.7
LB Edmond Robinson, 86.0
DT Toby Johnson, 83.7
S Andrew Sendejo, 81.4
DT Tom Johnson, 81.0
Rookie CB Mackensie Alexander pressing for starting job
Alexander ensured he snatched the limelight in the second half of Sunday’s game. He ran a better route than the opposing receiver on one red-zone play, but failed to finish with a pick, despite a gift-wrapped opportunity. Alexander was far more greedy on the ensuing snap, ending a Chargers’ drive with an impressive leaping interception. On his remaining pair of targets, he gave up only two catches for 19 yards. Although frequently patient with young players, Minnesota might consider accelerating Alexander’s development.
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