Preseason: Vikings 10, Raiders 6

Disappointing performance by the Raiders in Minnesota, between the Vikings marching straight down the field for a touchdown on their first possession, and the Raiders unable to get on the board until deep into garbage time. Too many dropped passes, blown coverages, and dumb penalties.

Some fans are already on the ledge, and they shouldn’t be — it is, after all, preseason. Vanilla playbooks, rookies trying to make the team and veterans trying not to get hurt in a meaningless game, etc. We all know the drill. Yes, the team came out flat and lifeless where they should have been tight and ready to play. Fans have a right to be nervous after a dozen seasons of futility.

But there were some nice surprises, and some glimmers of hope. Shelby Harris and T.J. Carrie made some nice plays (including Harris getting around Pro Bowl LT Mat Kalil to sack Matt Cassel), Chimdi Chekwa is improving, and Lamarr Woodley still looks like a baller. The running game, as sparingly as it was used, was solid all the way around, with McFadden cranking out a 23-yard carry, and Jones-Drew and Murray both putting up good averages per carry.

Derek Carr shows plenty of promise and potential, and even though Schaub had some questionable throws, he also didn’t have a whole lot of help from his receivers. A greater emphasis on the running game this season will help take some of the heat off the QB/receiving corps.

There’s definitely room for improvement on several fronts, but that’s what preseason is for, and there’s also plenty of reason to be at least cautiously optimistic. Next preseason matchup is home against the Lions on Friday the 15th.


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