Turns out, it was a good thing the game wasn’t broadcast in high definition television because it would have only served to magnify the mistakes the first-teamers made.
Just as they did against the Jets, the first-team offense was plagued by false starts in what would otherwise have been a decent performance. Daunte Culpepper again looked sharp, spreading the ball around, calling some nice audibles, avoiding pressure, buying time, and hitting recceivers in stride or out of the reach of defenders. Mewelde Moore, starting in place of the injured Michael Bennett, again looked sharp and more capable of bouncing runs outside than Bennett.
Honestly, the running back situation is rather frustrating. You so often see Moore running in open field but getting run down from behind by a linebacker or a lineman or something and the first thing you think is, "Yeah, if that was Bennett, he’d be gone." But then you remember that you can’t remember the last time you saw Bennett running in the open field.
Nate Burleson again looked great catching and running and Travis Taylor just catches everything that’s thrown to him, which is more than you can say for Marcus Robinson, whose strongest asset is supposed to be his 6’3" frame and his ability to outleap defenders on the fade. Yeah, not so much.
On the last play of Daunte’s night, he hit Troy Williamson on a nice play on the sideline and the rookie proved me wrong by making a nice adjustment to the pass and bringing it in with a nifty little jump.
And the offense just couldn’t punch it into the end zone, so Paul Edinger got plenty of work and looked in very good form.
The first-team defense, on the other hand, just let the Chargers have their way with them. Keep in mind that this was a first-team Chargers squad without their top two playmakers, Ladainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. It was a rather scary spectacle, considering how much faith we Vikings fans are putting into the defense to be the difference this year.