There are no quarterback controversies in Minnesota since Kirk Cousins signed his three-year, $84 million contract to be the franchise signal-caller. But preseason performances had some wondering who might serve as Cousin’s top backup this season.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer left no doubt on Monday when asked if there was any question that Trevor Siemian would be the backup.
“No,” Zimmer said, bluntly.
Siemian only played 18 snaps in the third preseason game on Friday at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Siemian, who was acquired in an offseason trade from the Denver Broncos, was 4-of-8 passing for just three yards and was sacked three times before being booed by the hometown crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“The other night he didn’t play as well as he had in the past, so he has to improve some,” Zimmer said on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kyle Sloter has excelled for the second consecutive preseason. Sloter led Minnesota to a 21-20 victory on Friday by going 11 of 15 for 85 yards and two touchdowns on 21 snaps.
As expected, Cousins received his most extensive action of the season and was 17 of 28 for 182 yards in playing the entire first half. Cousins didn’t throw a touchdown or interception and wasn’t sacked. He led the Vikings on one scoring drive which was finished with a rushing touchdown from Latavius Murray.
Through three preseason games, Cousins has completed 60 percent of his passes for 5.9 yards per attempt. He has one touchdown, no interceptions and has been sacked once while accumulating an 85.0 quarterback rating.
Siemian has completed 57.1 percent of his 35 passes for 6.1 yards per attempt. He has two touchdowns – one on Roc Thomas’ 78-yard screen play for a touchdown in the first game – and one interception while being sacked six times.
Sloter has 41 pass attempts, completing 73.2 percent for 5.8 yards per attempt. He has three touchdowns and no interceptions, and has been sacked four times. He’s led Minnesota to a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks to win.
“When he goes in, he makes plays and that’s pretty much it,” Zimmer said Monday on what he’s seen from Sloter.
Here’s a couple other items from Zimmer’s press conference on Monday:
A BIT ON RUNNING
The Vikings didn’t run the ball as well on Friday against Seattle as they had the previous two games.
Dalvin Cook played in his first game since his season-ending knee injury last year. Cook played four snaps and had two carries for one yard. Murray had 10 carries for 24 yards and Mike Boone carried the ball nine times for 26 yards.
Fullback Kobe McCrary had a carry for two yards as Minnesota had 24 rushes for 58 yards, a 2.4-yard average.
Zimmer said Cook felt fine after his first game action
“Yes, he didn’t get hit that much,” Zimmer said. “He’s fine.
Boone continues to make an impression when getting an opportunity.
“I think he’s doing well,” Zimmer said. “He is a guy that is really versatile. Can catch the ball, has good feet and made some really good cuts. He continues to show pretty well.”
REMMERS AND HILL BACK
Right guard Mike Remmers and right tackle Rashod Hill returned Friday after missing time with injuries.
Mike and Rashod were a little bit tentative but nothing bad,” Zimmer said. “They did fine but it was just good to get them out there again.”
ILOKA’S FIRST GAME
Veteran safety George Iloka played a day after signing with the Vikings. He played 25 snaps on defense, eight on special teams and had a pass deflection that ended up in an interception for Anthony Harris.
“He was okay,” Zimmer said on Monday. “Obviously, he made the play on the interception. There’s some things that he’s been learning, technique-wise, since I’ve been gone [from Cincinnati], now I want him to change back to kind of what we’re doing. I noticed a few things like that, but nothing glaring. As far as understanding where he’s supposed to be and what his assignment is, that was all fine. He sat down on a route one time where he didn’t need to, a couple things like that.”