What We Saw: Preseason Week 1

The WWS Team recaps the first week of the NFL Preseason

Vikings @ Raiders

Final Score: Raiders 26, Vikings 20

Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


The Raiders and the Vikings played out an entertaining preseason clash albeit without many starters on both sides of the ball. The starting offensive lines for both teams played a couple of series but otherwise it was all about the backups in this one. Still, football is back and we love to see it.

Both teams welcome new coaching staffs, with Josh McDaniels taking the helm in Las Vegas and Kevin O’Connell, fresh off his Super Bowl victory with the Rams, now in the driving seat in Minnesota. There was nothing too flashy in this one with the play-calling leaning on strong running games and short-to-intermediate passing routes for the quarterbacks. The Vikings registered just 6.5 yards per play, however the Raiders could only put up a measly 4.3 yards per play, running 20 more plays than the Vikings did.

The key takeaways came from the receiving corps of both teams. Minnesota’s Albert Wilson notched two receiving touchdowns to support his quest for a roster spot, while young Raiders wideout DJ Turner, who spent 2021 on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent, was the most accomplished receiver for McDaniels’ offense.

Kenyan Drake saw significant reps out of the backfield in the same way Josh Jacobs did last week. Clearly the run game is far from set in Las Vegas.


Minnesota Vikings




Sean Mannion: 8/12, 76 yards, 2 sacks

Kellen Mond: 9/14, 119 yards, 2 TD | 3 carries, 7 yards


After clearly falling out of favor with former coach Mike Zimmer, 2021 thrid round pick Kellen Mond looks to have a good shot of winning the backup role behind Kirk Cousins. Mond showed nervousness at times, scrambling around like a headless chicken on a couple of occasions, but he also made a couple of NFL-level throws for scores. Mond threw his first TD of the preseason through a tight window on a slant route to Albert Wilson before connecting with the former Miami wideout for another score late in the game.



If Sean Mannion makes this team in front of Mond, Vikings fans I feel for you. Somehow Mannion has collected a decent living behind Cousins as an experienced veteran. He is noweher near the level that is needed to compete in the NFL, however, a fact alarmingly realized in the one game he was forced to start last year. Mannion is slow to the read and even slower to get rid of the ball.



Running Back


Alexander Mattison: 6 carries, 21 yards

Kene Nwangwu: 7 carries, 41 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards

Ty Chandler: 5 carries, 50 yards

Bryant Koback: 4 carries, 9 yards | 3 targets, 1 reception, -2 yards


We only saw sneak peeks of Alexander Mattison and Kene Nwangu, who are both locked in to make this team as key elements of the running and return games. Rookie Ty Chandler, a 5th round pick out of North Carolina, also looks to have some pop and could be used in a number of ways in O’Connell’s creative offensive scheme. He ran well between the pads and also showed toughness and speed returning kicks.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Myron Mitchell: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 37 yards

Ihmir Smith-Marsette: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards

Trishton Jackson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards

Albert Wilson: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards, 2 TD

Dan Chisena: 2 targets, 1 receptions, 22 yards

Jalen Nailor: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards

Zach Davidson: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards

K.J. Osborn: 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards

Bisi Johnson: 3 targets


Veteran Albert Wilson is battling with young guns Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Myron Mitchell and Jalen Nailorย for a roster spot and the former Dolphin did himself no harm with a two-touchdown night. Wilson connected with Mond twice, including on a lovely inside-out route on thrid down late in the game. Wilson has done himself no harm after this performance.



Myron Mitchell, a second-year player out of UAB who spent the majority of last season on the practice squad, also showed some nice speed and hands to get loose in the secondary and haul in a deep ball.



Las Vegas Raiders




Jarrett Stidham: 10/15, 68 yards, 3 sacks | 4 carries, 16 yards, TD

Nick Mullens: 7/9, 94 yards, TD | 2 carries, 9 yards

Chase Garbers: 2/3, 19 yards, sack | 2 carries, -2 yards


Former Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidhamย got the start over Nick Mullens but it wasn’t pretty through the air as Stidham mainly looked no further than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage much to the delight of the Vikings linebackers. He did make an impact with his legs, however. Staying composed in the pocket, Stidham read the defense nicely before taking off straight down the middle for a rushing touchdown.



Stidham found success mainly because his offensive line gave him plenty of time to throw. His game just wasn’t exciting or risky, always choosing the easy option even when he had a heap of time to push the ball further down the field. Still, it was effective to set up a couple of early opportunities for points.


Running Back


Kenyan Drake: 4 carries, 15 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Zamir White: 5 carries, 13 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 4 yards

Brittain Brown: 14 carries, 54 yards, TD | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards

Austin Walter: 7 carries, 30 yards | 1 target


I don’t think Kenyan Drake is in danger of losing his spot and it may have just been a planned rotation with Josh Jacobs taking most of the lead back reps in last week’s Hall of Fame contest. Rookie Zamir White was also less-than-impressive with eight total touches โ€“ a meagre 17 yards from those touches is instantly forgettable.

Instead, the day belonged to Brittain Brown, a Patriots-style early down back who split the running back role in college also. A late round flyer, Brown did nothing to harm his opportunity to make the team. He punched the ball in from inside the 5-yard line on 3rd and goal.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


DJ Turner: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 58 yards, TD

Damarcus Robinson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 28 yards

Keelan Cole: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 26 yards | 1 carry, 5 yards

Mack Hollins: 1 target, 1 reception, 15 yards

Nick Bowers: 1 target, 1 reception, 15 yards

Tyron Johnson: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

Jesper Horsted: 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards

Cole Fotheringham: 1 target


Undrafted free agent out of Maryland DJ Turner produced the moment of magic in this game with a lovely catch and burn of the Vikings secondary to extend the Raiders’ lead in the third quarter. Turner had his ups and down in college, including some trouble with the law. However, if he can stay on the straight and narrow with this speed, he may have a sneaky opportunity to make the team as a contributor.



One new recruit the Raiders are hoping works out to give them some options in multiple receiver sets is former Chiefs wideout Damarcus Robinson. It was nice to see him get into the action early and haul down a couple of balls that in previous seasons he struggled to keep in his hands.


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