Photo Courtesy: Aaron Josefczyk / UPI


FSM Essential Recap: Preseason Game 2 – Raiders vs Vikings

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) | Minnesota Vikings (0-1)


The Las Vegas Raiders held on to beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 at Allegiant Stadium in Josh McDaniels’ first home game as the Raiders’ head coach.


The Raiders kicked off the 2022 NFL season in Canton over a week ago now, and with most other teams getting into action since then, football magic has beautifully saturated the airwaves once again. In the opening exhibition win against Jacksonville, HC Josh McDaniels confidently navigated the Raiders through a well-rounded performance. The run game was impressive, the defense flew around with speed, and the offense committed no turnovers. I know most people use this ballad for the holidays, but cue Andy Williams’ It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

With the Silver & Black back at Allegiant Stadium to tussle with Minnesota, the fanbase was finally on-hand for McDaniels’ debut at his new home venue. Sure, it’s still preseason, but as the elder members of Raider Nation will tell you, the Raiders and Vikings have an eternal connection. Back in 1977, the then Oakland Raiders trounced Minnesota in Super Bowl XI to earn the franchise’s first Lombardi trophy. Lifted by his team, John Madden would land the iconic photo at the Rose Bowl, and Freddie B. would be named SBXI MVP (Biletnikoff is still doing well, too; I filmed him sink this 70 ft+ putt in cold weather last February).



Technically it’s still summer, so I’ll nix the history lesson for now. But in my opinion, the buzz inside Allegiant Stadium on Sunday was heightened more than the average preseason game, and I’d like to think the Super Bowl XI tie contributed to that—Or (more likely) maybe everyone was just extra enthralled to be back at the Death Star for some Raiders’ football!

For a comprehensive quarter-by-quarter recap and analysis of Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Vikings, continue reading! Remember, these preseason games are loaded with non-starters; See here for the current 2022 depth chart and positional breakdowns!


1st Quarter


Raiders vs Vikings
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

The Raiders commenced the game by kicking off to Minnesota. On the opening drive, the Vegas defense suffocated the opposition into an early punt, highlighted by a timely batted pass at the line from DE Gerri Green. Jarrett Stidham would march out as the day’s starting quarterback for the Raiders, immediately orchestrating a methodical 15-play, 6:27 scoring drive.

Through precise passes to receivers Keelan Cole and Mack Hollins, Vegas would move the ball into Minnesota territory before a Vikings penalty on third down extended the drive into the red zone. A QB sack would follow, and then Zamir White (who started at RB on Sunday; We saw no Jacobs) and Kenyan Drake traded inside runs to get down near the goal line before stalling. From 23 yards out, Carlson kicked through the first of his two field goals on the day. 3-0, and the Raiders are on the board first for the second consecutive week.

Next, we saw perhaps the Raiders’ most dominant defensive series of the day. The ensuing Carlson kickoff showcased fantastic coverage from Amik Robertson (who had a busy day making four tackles) as he smashed into the Vikings’ returner behind the MIN 20-yard line. From there, linebacker Jayon Brown nearly swiped an interception—He leaped to steal a pass that Sean Mannion was trying to drop just over his head but saw it bounce off Brown’s hands for an incompletion. Explosive safetyman Johnathan Abram disrupted the next two plays in succession by ferociously crashing the line of scrimmage on blitzes, resulting in a sack for DE Malcolm Koonce: 3 & out for the Vikes!

In a slow and deliberate quarter, the Raiders would hold the ball for the remainder of the opening period. Stidham got the offense rolling again by finding WR Ty Johnson for a 16-strike down the left sideline. Oddly, the play drew two separate penalties on Johnson’s defender, favorably pushing Las Vegas into Minnesota’s red zone. The Raiders would eventually be faced with a fourth down at the Vikings’ 10-yard line, and thanks to some brilliant vision from Kenyan Drake, they were able to pick up the sticks on a play that looked dead in the backfield. That would conclude the first quarter’s action; the Raiders were still up 3-0.

2nd Quarter

Continuing the drive inside the Minnesota 5-yard line, Stidham would drop back to pass before pulling the ball down and stepping up in the pocket, running right up the middle for the game’s first touchdown! That makes two rushing scores from Stidham in as many games this preseason. Carlson blasts through the XP, and Vegas is now up 10-skunk.
The Vikings came out with more fire on offense in the second quarter.

The ensuing drive for Minnesota saw them string together a few positive plays by hitting a 22-yard first down pass and then a nice gain on an RB swing (that LV-safety Roderic Teamer took a poor angle on; He still had an excellent game, though). After that, cornerback Robertson was flagged for defensive holding, which seemed to energize the Vikings’ run game; Minnesota used several interior ground attacks to net chunk runs down the field. With the Vikings now at the LV 2-yard line, the Raiders put together a fine goal-line stand highlighted by a momentous run-stuff from DT Andrew Billings. No touchdown this time for Minnesota, but they’d send out veteran kicker Greg Joseph to convert a 20-yard field goal. 10-3 LV.

The next offensive drive for the Raiders was their most stagnant of the game (and their only 3 & out), spoiled by a third-down quarterback sack. However, the silver lining is that we got to see punter A.J. Cole come out and boom a 68-yard punt (Hollins on the coverage). As one of the best in the NFL, see how long it takes Cole to net another punt of that length this season.

With just over six minutes left in the first half, the Vikings would muster another field goal-scoring drive. The Raiders’ defense played all afternoon effectively, but they displayed terrible tackling techniques in this series. Still, the Silver & Black unit did well to bend and not break. Minnesota drove the ball down inside the LV 10-yard line for the second consecutive possession and, once again, stalled thanks to gritty D-line play from the Raiders. Kicker Joseph would then poke another short FG through, making it 10-6 Raiders.

However, each side would get the ball another time before the second quarter’s end, only resulting in an on-field stalemate. Heading into the locker room, the Raiders’ defensive play on third down has been the X-factor (the Vikings did not convert a third down until the fourth quarter). Additionally, Stidham’s quick decision-making in McDaniels’ offense has been on display again. Although no offensive player dominated the first half, the Raiders‘ scheme felt circumspect and productive.

3rd Quarter


Raiders vs Vikings
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Las Vegas would start with the ball in the second half. Stidham would get the rest of the day off as No. 3 QB Nick Mullens came out to try his hand. In what should have been a 3 & out for the Raiders, the Vikings’ punt return team was flagged late for an illegal substitution, providing the Silver & Black with a fresh set of downs. 

Mullens was sure to take advantage of this new life; He found Keelan Cole a couple of times before getting RB Brittain Brown involved (who was absolutely the bell cow tailback in the second half). Now on Minnesota’s side of the field, Mullens delivered a fantastic timing throw on a drag-left to receiver D.J. Turner. Naturally, Turner did the rest himself, making a move and zipping all the way up the left sideline for a 34-yard touchdown! Astonishingly, Carlson missed the extra point: 16-6 Raiders.

Minnesota then followed with their most impressive offensive drive of the day. After taking the ensuing kickoff 56-yards into Raiders territory, QB Kellen Mond showed determination by extending broken plays into Vikings’ first downs. After converting on a fourth down, Mond had the MIN offense deep in the red zone. In an empty formation, he fired a precise bullet to WR Albert Wilson running an inside slant: Good for a 2-yard touchdown. Joseph converts the XP, and we have a ball game: Raiders up, but only 16-13 now.

For the Raiders, the next offensive drive was exactly what they needed, when they needed it. Once again, slow and methodical, McDaniels allowed RB Austin Walter to stretch his legs a bit. Coming off a scoring performance in Canton, Walter has been a bright spot in an already dynamic running back room. He runs shifty like Ameer Abdullah, employs Drake’s vision, and plays through contact like White. Walter and Turner would trade off positive plays with a few nice catches from speedster Demarcus Robinson sprinkled in. Mullens and Walter would then run for a first down each, taking the Raiders well into Minnesota’s red zone as the third quarter clock expired. Time to put those 4s up!


4th Quarter

The Raiders would continue to take their time scoring, eventually converting the overlapping drive into a touchdown. On the third play of the fourth quarter, Brown pounded in a 1-yard TD run on third down after Walter failed to do so on the previous two tries. Of course, Carlson would not miss this XP: Vegas back up by double digits, 23-13.

Minnesota would come out running the ball in the fourth quarter, rushing for consecutive first downs. However, as mentioned, third down was troublesome for the Vikings. Faced with a third down after building some momentum on the ground, Raiders defensive end Tashawn Bower sacked Mond, rendering the Vikings 0-6 on third down at that point. Minnesota would be forced to punt deep to D.J. Turner, who produced an entertaining 26-yard return (this kid has some undeniable skills).

Up by 10, McDaniels elected to send out the rookie Chase Garbers for some action under center. Like last week in Canton, Garbers looked poised in the moment, hitting Turner on a play-action post for a first down as his best throw of the day. This possession certainly had touchdown scoring potential, but after a Cole Fotheringham drop and a quarterback sack, the Raiders would settle for a Carlson 47-yard field goal. With the line now reading 26-13 Las Vegas, every Raiders QB orchestrated a scoring drive for the second consecutive week.

Mond showed no quit when operating the Vikings’ offense. He came right back out with two electric first-down throws to move into Vegas’ side of the field. Shortly after, Mond found Wilson for his second touchdown reception, this one on a 20-yard rub-wheel route to the back-right corner of the end zone. With the converted extra point, the Vikings are back within a score, down 26-20 to Las Vegas.

The remaining 3:44 of this contest would go to the bruising Brittain Brown. He ran through numerous tackles and showed good vision when choosing his running lanes. Worth mentioning that Brown nearly gave the ball back to the Vikings late in the fourth quarter when Minnesota safety Myles Dorn crashed into Brown’s midsection, dislodging the rock. Fortunately for Raider Nation, OL Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (yes, his dad is the old Raider tailback) was right there to fall on it. Brown would get the ball right back, running for a first down on the next play. Now in victory formation, Garbers took a knee to expire the remaining time.

Final score: Raiders 26, Vikings 20.




Raiders vs Vikings
Photo Credit: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images

The running back and wide receiver groups are legitimately deep. Outside of the starting cast, players like Walter, White, Brown, Robinson, Johnson, Hollins, Turner, and Cole have serious talent, especially in scheme situations. The Raiders managed 140 total rushing yards on Sunday, with Brown and Walter producing the majority of that. Of course, in the passing game, opposing defenses will look to double Davante Adams this season; This group should invite them to try …

If the defense can perform like this on third down every week, the Raiders will be a force to reckon with in the crowded AFC. The Vikings went a dismal 1-7 on third downs. It is widely understood that that is the money down in the NFL. Winning the 3D battle is usually paramount for winning the overall game. That was on full display today.

The Raiders’ on-field discipline already appears much improved. In both preseason games this year, the Raiders have been the lesser penalized team. Along with poor third-down play, the Vikings committed several egregious penalties that the Raiders were sure to capitalize on by scoring points. On the day, Minnesota was flagged eight times for 71 yards, while Vegas was penalized four times for only 29 yards. Historically, the Raiders always seem to be amongst the most-penalized teams each season. Eliminating costly mishaps will go a long way for this team.

Jarett Stidham operates McDaniels’ offense with the comfortability of a starter. Of course, the two do have continuity, but it’s evident in his on-field decision-making that Stidham steps out there with a clear purpose. However, Mullens is not playing poorly at all; He actually outpassed Stidham today despite working less time (Mullens was 7/9 passing for 94 yards and a touchdown: Stidham completed 10 of 15 passes for 68 yards). Rest assured, these two players should get the best out of one another through competition alone. Have some peace of mind, though—Should Carr miss time at all, both Stidham and Mullens have the potential to man the fort.

The Raiders are still allowing too many quarterback sacks. Like the Hall of Fame game last week, Las Vegas was sacked far more than they sacked their opponent (MIN 4 sacks for 21 yards; LV 2 sacks for 15 yards). Of course, it’s still preseason, but sacks (especially on third down) are bonafide drive-killers. The offensive line is still shuffling with who fits where (shoutout to Dylan Parham for doing well at multiple spots today), so perhaps this will improve with continuity. More than any other group, the o-line works as a unit.

Darius Butler and Luke Masterson can have high usage this season. The two interior linebackers are the more traditional-looking run stoppers of the LB corps. Perryman and Deablo will have these spots solidified, but Butler and Masterson have both displayed a nose for the football (Butler led LV with five total tackles against Minnesota; Masterson made four tackles of his own). In up-tempo situations, look for the Raiders to lean on defensive depth; Every divisional game this season may be a track meet.


The Raiders will travel to Hard Rock Stadium and prepare for their exhibition game against the Miami Dolphins, which will take place Saturday, Aug. 20. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 pm and can be seen locally on Fox 5.

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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