NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 2 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 12, Minnesota Vikings 10

Aug 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacob Eason (9) passes against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts rode their kicking game to victory Saturday night, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 12-10 behind four field goals. Both offenses struggled to find consistent success, as the game’s only touchdown came on a Troy Dye pick-six.


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Indianapolis Colts

Quarterbacks
Player Dropbacks Yards per attempt  Turnover- worthy Plays  ACOMP% AIR%
Jacob Eason 23 3.6 0 54.5% 48.8%
Sam Ehlinger 14 5.4 1 69.2% 20%

Rookie Sam Ehlinger got the start under center for Indianapolis, completing 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards and two interceptions. Ehlinger’s first pick came on the first play of his third drive, as the sixth-rounder’s throw hit wide receiver Parris Campbell in the hands but was tipped in the air by cornerback Bashaud Breeland before being returned for a touchdown by linebacker Troy Dye. His second interception came on another tipped pass, this one pulled down by defensive tackle Jordon Scott. Ehlinger added 11 yards on the ground on 2 attempts. 

Second-year pro Jacob Eason relieved Ehlinger but was similarly inefficient, finishing with 16 completions on 27 attempts for 132 yards. He failed to record either a touchdown nor an interception. Eason did edge out Ehlinger in grading, earning a 62.1 overall grade compared to Ehlinger’s grade of 51.5.

Running Backs 

Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines traded off first-team reps, with Mack collecting 10 yards on three carries while Hines racked up 17 yards on six attempts. Hines was particularly effective after contact, collecting almost 71% of his yards after escaping from the initial defender. 

Jordan Wilkins and Benny Lemay controlled the majority of the carries as the second- and third-team units took the field, rushing for 22 and 29 yards, respectively. 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Player Receiving snaps Targets  Receptions  Yards/Yards after catch 
Zach Pascal 11 4 4 31/25
Benny LeMay 7 3 3 16/9
Farrod Green 20 2 2 16/18
Jordan Wilkins 9 2 2 2/3
Michael Strachan  21 2 1 3/1
De’Michael Harris  17 2 1 3/1
Deon Jackson 2 1 1 5/5
Dezmon Paton  12 1 1 28/4
Nyheim Hines 5 1 1 18/23
Jordan Thomas  5 1 1 10/8
Michael Pittman Jr.  12 2 1 7/0
Ashton Dulin  8 2 0 0/0
Parris Campbell  8 2 0 0/0
Kylen Granson  6 2 0 0/0
Mo Alie-Cox 4 1 0 0/0

Wide receiver Zach Pascal was involved early and often, pulling down four receptions for 31 yards. Michael Pittman Jr. led the Colts in receiving snaps, collecting one reception for 7 yards on just two targets. 

Indianapolis’ tight ends were relatively quiet Saturday night, as Farrod Green paced the group with two receptions for 16 yards.  

Offensive Line

The Colts’ offensive line was particularly strong in pass protection, holding the Vikings without a sack while only allowing two quarterback pressures. On first review, center Chris Reed led the group with an 82.2 pass protection grade, while all but one member of the unit graded higher than 69.4. 

The group was not equally strong in its run-blocking performance, as Indianapolis was only able to average a measly 2.7 yards per carry. Tackles Braden Smith and Will Holden led the unit in run-blocking grades, each earning an 82.7. 

Defensive Line
Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Chris Williams 27 0 0
Al-Quadin Muhammad  24 1 1
Ben Banogu 23 5 0
Taylor Stallworth 19 2 0
Andrew Brown 17 2 1
Isaac Rochell 14 2 0
Kwity Paye 9 1 1
Grover Stewart 7 0 0
Andre Chachere 3 1 0
Matthew Adams 2 2 0

Indianapolis’ defensive line was dominant, collecting nine total pressures and three sacks. First-round pick Kwity Paye got the start alongside Al-Quadin Muhammad, Antwaun Woods and Grover Stewart.  

Paye was the highest-graded member of the unit, earning a 90.5 and collecting the first sack of his NFL career with a takedown of Kirk Cousins midway through the first quarter. 

Linebackers 

Bobby Okereke, Matthew Adams and Zaire Franklin started at linebacker for Indianapolis, performing admirably and holding Minnesota to just 4.3 yards per carry on the ground and 5.1 yards per completion. 

Okereke earned the highest grade of the group (80.6) and tied second-year pro Curtis Bolton for the lead in tackles with four.  

Okereke earned the highest grade of the group (80.6). Second-year pro Curtis Bolton led the team with five tackles. 

Secondary

Cornerbacks Rock Ya-Sin and Kenny Moore started the game, while Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis manned the two safety spots. The unit as a whole played well, limiting the Vikings to just 137 yards on a 52% completion percentage. 

Ya-Sin was the standout of the group, drawing only two targets but refusing to allow a reception on either one. His 90.4 coverage grade was the highest on the team.

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterbacks
Player  Dropbacks Yards per attempt  ACOMP%
Kirk Cousins 9 3.3 71.4%
Jake Browning 16 5.5 57.1%
Kellen Mond 15 6.5 58.3%

Kirk Cousins started the game for Minnesota, completing five passes on seven attempts for 23 yards. He was relieved by Jake Browning, who completed six of his 15 attempts for 82 yards. Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond played the entire second half, connecting on six of his 12 attempts for 61 yards. None of the three signal-callers threw a touchdown or interception. 

Running Backs

Alexander Mattison started the game at running back but didn’t handle a carry, instead catching passes on the Vikings first two plays. Ameer Abdullah was also heavily involved, finishing the game as the Vikings’ leading rusher with 35 yards on six carries to go along with 6 receiving yards on three catches.  

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends 
Player Receiving snaps  Targets Receptions Yards/Yards after catch
K.J. Osborn 25 3 2 27/4
Ameer Abdullah  23 4 3 6/4
Chad Beebe 22 4 2 47/18
Brandon Dillon 20 2 1 6/2
Ihmir Smith-Marsette 20 3 1 23/2
Zach Davidson  15 3 1 6/1
Whop Philyor 13 3 1 19/3
Asim Rose 12 1 0 0/0
Dan Chisena 9 1 1 6/1
Myron Mitchell  8 1 1 22/0
Irv Smith Jr.  8 2 1 3/2
Warren Jackson 6 1 0 0/0
Shane Zylstra  3 1 1 2/0
Jake Bargas 3 1 1 6/1
Adam Theilen 3 1 0 0/0
Alexander Mattison  2 2 2 16/10

Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn got the start at wide receiver, although Thielen only saw one target before limping off the field with an injury that was later described as non-serious. Minnesota’s leading receiver was Chad Beebe, who collected 47 yards on two receptions. 

The Vikings’ tight end group was quiet Saturday, as Irv Smith Jr. led the group with two early targets, pulling down one for 3 yards. 

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Offensive Line 

Minnesota’s offensive line had an up and down performance Saturday, highlighted by their strong performance against the run. The Vikings averaged 4.2 yards per carry and were led by guard Kyle Hinton, who earned a 78.5 run-blocking grade. 

The unit was not equally strong against the pass, allowing nine total pressures and three sacks. The group overall earned a respectable 68.6 pass-blocking grade, paced by guard Dakota Dozier, who didn’t allow a single pressure in 16 pass-blocking snaps en route to an 83.7 pass-blocking grade.  

Defensive Line 
Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks
Jalyn Holmes 19 0 0
D.J. Wonnum 19 1 0
Stephen Weatherly 19 2 0
Armon Watts 18 2 0
Sheldon Richardson 15 0 0
Jordon Scott 14 0 0
Kenny Willekes 14 0 0
Janarius Robinson 13 0 0
Zeandae Johnson 13 0 0
Hercules Mata’afa 12 0 0
Blake Lynch 4 0 0
Dalvin Tomlinson 4 0 0
Michael Pierce 4 0 0
Ryan Connelly 3 0 0
Troy Dye 3 1 0

Minnesota’s success rushing the passer was equally inept, as the group only managed three pressures and did not record a sack. The group was significantly stronger against the run, holding Indianapolis to just 2.7 yards per carry. 

The standout of the unit was the newly acquired Michael Pierce, who played just 10 snaps but earned a 73.9 grade overall and a 72.3 grade against the run. 

Linebackers

Nick Vigil and Eric Kendricks started the game at linebacker for Minnesota, each playing just 11 snaps before ceding to the second- and third-team members. Vigil in particular impressed in his limited run, earning a team-high 83.6 overall grade.

The most remarkable performance by a Vikings linebacker came from second-year player Troy Dye, who collected five tackles, one quarterback hit and returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown. His 69.9 coverage grade led the unit.  

Secondary

Bashaud Breeland and Kris Boyd earned the start at cornerback, while Myles Dorn and Camryn Bynum were the team’s starting safeties. The unit was strong from top to bottom and did not allow a passing touchdown while holding Colts quarterbacks to just 202 yards through the air. 

Breeland played inspired ball throughout the contest, as the former fourth-round pick didn’t allow a reception on three targets. His 94.8 overall grade and 94.4 coverage grade were both tops between the two teams. 

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