Let’s take a look at the key aspects of the game:
Records: The Raiders are 2-0. The Vikings are 0-1.
What it means:
Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels was more conservative in this game, in terms of the roster, than he was in the Hall of Fame Game against Jacksonville on Aug. 4 in his hometown of Canton, Ohio. Unlike that game, most starters didn’t play against the Vikings. More than half the Las Vegas starters played some against the Jaguars. Like Jacksonville did, Minnesota kept most of its starters out Sunday, So, this was pretty much a backup fest.
Notable #Raiders who haven't played: Nate Hobbs, Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Denzel Perryman, Anthony Averett, Rock Ya-Sin, Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Kolton Miller, Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Brandon Parker, Clelin Ferrell, & Divine Deablo.— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) August 14, 2022
Of course, like the first preseason game, most of the Las Vegas starting offensive line played because the coaching staff is trying to figure out the best starting lineup. The only clear starter not to play Sunday (again) was left tackle Kolton Miller. What stood out most of the offensive line rotation was seventh-round pick Thayer Munford starting at right tackle ahead of 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. Brandon Parker, who started at left tackle last week, has been out with an injury.
Leatherwood opened the second half at right tackle. So, at least for the day, Munford is ahead of him. That’s pretty stunning for a player who started all last season and was a first-round pick. It is clear the new staff is not completely sold on Leatherwood. But there is still time for him to impress. But it’s clear he is in a battle.
It appears Lester Cotton and John Simpson continue to lead the race at the guard spots.
Like the Jacksonville game, the pass protection was spotty. That is worrisome since the preseason competition is not great and Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack of the Los Angeles Chargers looming for Derek Carr in exactly four weeks.
Third-round pick Dylan Parham struggled some Sunday after playing well against the Jaguars.
Fourth-round pick Zamir White started at tailback with Josh Jacobs getting rest. Of course, in the Hall of Fame Game, Jacobs played the first two series and it caused quite a media stir. So, this week’s coaching decision quiets any talk that the Raiders don’t have big plans for Jacobs in 2022. After looking great against Jacksonville, the Raiders’ run game wasn’t overly impressive Sunday in the first half but Austin Walter and Brittain Brown ran well in the second half.
Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham looked good for the second straight game and appears to have the No. 2 job locked down. He ran for a short touchdown for the second straight game. Nick Mullins had some nice moments in the second half Sunday and perhaps it helped his cause to make the 53-man roster.
Defensively, the Raiders had both good and bad moments. A highlight was a nifty cornerback blitz schemed by coordinator Patrick Graham. That’s something we may see regularly in the season. Pass-rusher Malcolm Koonce had a nice sack and undrafted rookie linebacker Luke Masterson flashed some.
Third-year cornerback Amik Robertson, who has received praise this training camp, struggled at times Sunday. he is trying to secure a place in the rotation. Fellow cornerback Darius Phillips played well and should be, at least, a key special teamer. The Las Vegas run defense struggled at times as well.
In the end, it was a typical preseason game with lots of backups playing with sprinkles of both good and poor play.
Turning point: The Raiders had some big scoring drives in the second half to pull away from Minnesota. The Raiders, like last week, were never really in danger of losing this game.
Injury report: Koonce was shaken up in the second quarter, but jogged off on his own and he returned shortly later. There were no other reported injuries,
What’s next: The Raiders play their third of four preseason games at the Miami Dolphins next Saturday. Kickoff is 4 p.m. PT.