Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had hoped to "feel better" about his offense after Sunday's third preseason game. Instead, he might have felt worse. Minnesota's first-team offense was ragged, again, in a 32-31 win over San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium, failing to score a point in six first-half possessions. If starters don't play in Thursday's exhibition finale against Miami, as is usually the case, the Vikings' starters will have scored only three points in 12 preseason possessions.
MINNEAPOLIS — Taylor Heinicke didn't get on the field until the waning moments of the Vikings' exhibition Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. When the final gun sounded, he was the hero. Heinicke's dive into the end zone for a two-point conversion on the final play to give Minnesota a dramatic, 32-31 victory over San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium on Aug. 27. In a stadium mostly emptied of fans in a game that didn't count, Heinicke was mobbed by teammates as if he had just won the Super Bowl.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — If rookie Pat Elflein is not the starting center in Sunday night's preseason game, NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth might express surprise. With Elflein and Nick Easton batting for the job, whichever player gets the call against San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium figures to be the starter for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against New Orleans. "I think he's going to (be the starter this season), in my opinion,'' Collinsworth said of Elflein while watching practice Friday. "You draft somebody that high, he's playing well, you probably play him.''
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.—Vikings receiver Adam Thielen played last month in a nationally televised celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. He stopped during his round for a live interview with NBC. Through it all, the 27-year-old former Minnesota State Mankato athlete from Detroit Lakes insists life is no different for him. "No," he said. "I'm just trying to keep it the same."
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Latavius Murray looks ready to finally make his Vikings debut. Coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday the running back, who missed the first two preseason games while working his way back from ankle surgery in March, likely will play in the Sunday night, Aug. 27, exhibition against San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium. "We'll just get him in and get him a taste and see how it goes,'' Zimmer said.
MINNEAPOLIS — It's uncertain if Vikings defensive end Brian Robison will suit up again in the preseason, but he wants to play. Robison suffered a leg injury in practice last Sunday, Aug. 20, and doesn't know if he'll be available for Sunday night's third exhibition against San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium. Regardless, it seems unlikely he would play in the fourth and final preseason game.
MINNEAPOLIS — It's time for the Vikings' offense to put their coach at ease. In two preseason games, Minnesota's first team has managed just three points on six possessions. On Sunday night, the Vikings are hoping finally to break loose. They face San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium in their third — and last for most starters — preseason game. The offense is said to be playing well in practices against the Vikings' defense, one of the NFL's best, but coach Mike Zimmer is not yet convinced.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings each year had named a Rookie of the Year at the Minnesota Football Awards banquet. That is, until the last one. No Vikings rookie did much in 2016, and so no award was handed out. Count on that changing, though, in 2017. It looks as if the Vikings will have a bevy of top rookies despite not having a first-round pick.
MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Sendejo is now Mitch Leidner's teammate. A week ago, Sendejo was his customer. Leidner, a former University of Minnesota quarterback, was working as a Twin Cities delivery driver for Bite Squad and one of his orders was to Vikings safety Sendejo. "I saw his name (on the delivery form), and I said, 'That's got to be him,'" Leidner said Monday. "So, I introduced myself.'' Little did Leidner know he soon would join Sendejo with the Vikings. They signed him Sunday after third-string quarterback Taylor Heinicke suffered an injury.
MINNEAPOLIS — Running back Latavius Murray said Monday, Aug. 21 he's ready to play in the Vikings' third preseason game this weekend. Then again, Murray thought he was healthy enough last week to play in last week's second preseason game, at Seattle. Murray missed all of spring drills and the start of training camp following surgery in March on his right ankle. He returned to practice Aug. 7, but sat out Minnesota's first two preseason games.