NFL News & Analysis

LA-MIN grades: Vikings safeties shine in preseason Week 4 win over Rams

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Joel Stave #2 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball under pressure from Ethan Westbrooks #93 of the Los Angeles Rams during the first quarter of the game on September 1, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Minnesota Vikings 27, Los Angeles Rams 25

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest graded players from the Minnesota Vikings 27-25 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in preseason Week 4.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarterback grades: Sean Mannion, 50.2; Jared Goff, 40.2

Jared Goff continues to struggle in preseason

Goff was turnover-prone again Thursday night as he dropped a snap and threw a batted pass that wound up being intercepted. To be fair, the batted pass was largely a product of luck and an impressive diving snag by a defensive lineman, but the turnover trend is concerning in year one for the young QB. He had little help from his WRs as well, who contributed four dropped passes that add up to a paltry 37.5 completion percentage for the first overall pick.

Goff's passing numbers under pressure for the preseason:


Top offensive grades

C Eric Kush, 82.3

OT Pace Murphy, 80.6

OG David Arkin, 78.8

OT Andrew Donnal, 73.8

OG Garrett Reynolds, 73.2

Offensive line shows some bright spots for Rams

All five of the top offensive players for the Rams last night played offensive line. C Eric Kush had the best performance of the bunch with an 80.1 run-block performance although he surrendered a sack in pass protection. OT Pace Murphy led the charge in pass protection with a clean sheet while also contributing in the run game for a 75.5 run-block grade on 30 snaps. OG David Arkin was another player that stood out in the run game with a run-block grade of 77.8 as well as a pass protection grade of 81.4 despite surrendered a QB hurry.

Top defensive grades

S Christian Bryant, 88.9

LB Josh Forrest, 83.7

DI Morgan Fox, 83.5

S Maurice Alexander, 79

DI Dominique Easley, 78.7

Safeties show up in the run game

S Christian Bryant had a great night in run support with a total of four tackles and two run stops, earning a run-defense grade of 91.7. He also added in a QB hit and allowed no receptions on two targets on the night. LB Josh Forrest also was evident in the run game, posting an 86.2 run-defense grade. He also contributed a sack and a QB hurry as a pass-rusher. The highest-graded pass-rusher was DI Morgan Fox, who earned a 82.9 grade in that area and compiled two sacks and two QB hits along with some other impressive rushes that did not result in a stat.

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback grades: Joel Stave, 50.5; Brad Sorensen, 45.3

Vikings QBs do little to comfort reeling fans

QB Joel Stave had a below-average night, which did little to soothe a fan base that is still reeling from the injury to Teddy Bridgewater. QB Shaun Hill did not play, which gave Stave the opportunity to build some confidence. He wound up going 9-for-19 for 76 yards and a 58.2 QB rating. Although he did have two drops from his targets, he was also sacked twice and was inconsistent with his accuracy. The same could be said for QB Brad Sorensen, as he was plagued by inaccuracy on his nine attempts and was also sacked three times.

Top offensive grades

OT Jeremiah Sirles, 80.8

WR Jarius Wright, 75.4

HB C.J. Ham, 70.8

OT T.J. Clemmings, 68.6

HB Jhurell Pressley, 60.2

Running backs help lead the way for the Vikings

OT Jeremiah Sirles had a solid game in pass protection, earning an 84.0 pass-block grade despite surrendering a sack. His run-block grade of 69.8 was less impressive on 31 run-play snaps. WR Jarius Wright had three catches for 35 yards and no drops leading the way in the receiving game although only three of those yards came after the catch. HBs C.J. Ham and Jhurrell Pressley had good games, although they were productive in different ways. Ham had a positive rushing performance with 59 yards on 15 attempts and 20 yards after contact, as well as posting a pass-protection grade of 82.8. Pressley led the way in receiving from the backfield with 4 catches for 49 yard and 1 TD, and he forced two missed tackles after the catch. Altogether that earned the HB a 83.5 receiving grade.

Top defensive grades

S Jayron Kearse, 87.3

DE Zach Moore, 82.2

DE Justin Trattou, 78.4

LB Kentrell Brothers, 74.4

CB Jabari Price, 72.5

Pass rush steps up for the Vikings

DEs Zach Moore and Justin Trattou led the way in creating pressure for Minnesota’s defense. Moore tallied a sack and four QB hurries while Trattou had a QB hit, a QB hurry and a batted pass. S Jayron Kearse was the stud of the defense, earning a high grade in all phases with an 86.3 run-defense grade and 85.7 coverage grade. He finished the night with 6 tackles, 1 assist and 3 run stops while only allowing 7 yards on 2 targets. LB Kentrell Brothers also had a good night with a 6 tackles, 1 assist, 3 stops and a 74.2 run-defense grade.

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