EAGAN, Minn. -- Once again, Kyle Sloter put up impressive numbers in a preseason, game and once again it’s hard to gauge what they mean.
In Sunday’s 25-19 victory over Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings’ third-string quarterback completed 11 of 13 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown for a passer rating of 129.5.
In six preseason games with the Vikings over the past two seasons, Sloter has completed 58 of 76 passes (76.3 percent) for 544 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. But he’s put up those numbers mostly against third-string defenders.
“I like him a lot in what he does, but unless you see him working against first-string guys, it’s hard to evaluate,” Charles Davis, the Fox analyst for the game, said Monday. “But he’s out there performing. I think he plays with a lot confidence. I think he wants to compete for the job of being the No. 2 guy. I think he wants a fair shot at it.”
Sloter, 25, entering his third year in the NFL out of Northern Colorado, has been outspoken in his desire to be the backup behind starter Kirk Cousins. However, barring injury, it looks as if the job will go to Sean Mannion to start the season.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has spoken well of Sloter’s performance in games, but has said he must do better in practice. Zimmer likes that Mannion has some regular-season experience, having played in 10 games the past four years with the Rams, including one start. Sloter has never appeared in a regular-season game.
Playing the second quarter Sunday, Mannion completed 11 of 14 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. His did throw an interception that was run back 88 yards for a touchdown by DeShawn Shead. Zimmer called it a “miscommunication” between Mannion and intended receiver Chad Beebe.
Zimmer said Sloter “just continues to do well” in preseason games. Sloter was mostly pleased with his performance in playing the entire second half and leading Minnesota to two touchdowns.
“I started a little shaky with the six and out,” Sloter said of his first possession. “Missed a couple of key details there that I could have been better at. But as a unit, we got things rolling, and I had a fun time. … I think for the most part, it was a smooth operation.”
Big load for Boone
Mike Boone is battling rookie Alexander Mattison to be Minnesota’s backup running back. At the very least, he wants to be the No. 3 guy.
Boone helped himself Sunday by rushing 21 times for 66 yards and catching one pass for 45 yards.
“He’s an explosive kid, runs hard,” Zimmer said. “He’s got juice to get to the perimeter. Yeah, he did well last week, as well. That’s a good thing for him.”
In the preseason opener at New Orleans, Boone rushed four times for 70 yards, including a 64-yarder for a touchdown.
Mattison has a leg up to be the backup behind Dalvin Cook, who was rested for a second straight preseason game. Mattison carried 10 times for 41 yards.
In addition to one fullback, Zimmer is uncertain if the Vikings will keep three running backs or four. There could be competition for a final spot between Boone and Ameer Abdullah, who did not play Sunday.
“I just tried to come in like I approach every week and showcase what I can showcase, put my best football forward and try to make plays,” Boone said.
Wide receiver Jeff Badet, in a fight to make the team, was a versatile guy against the Seahawks.
He caught one pass for seven yards, had one run for 10 yards and returned three kickoffs for a 27.3-yard average. He also served as a gunner on the punt team.
“I can guarantee that one of these returns I am going to bust open,” Badet said. “I just have to stay with it.”
Badet spent last season on the practice squad. To make the 53-man roster, he needs to continue to refine his skills.
“He can run extremely fast,” Zimmer said. “His issues are learning all the positions and seeing what he can do on special teams.”