The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers faced off in the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame game, officially kicking off the 2015 NFL preseason. It wasn’t overly exciting as the main Steelers starters on offense sat this one out, while the likes of Adrian Peterson and Anthony Barr were also sidelined for Minnesota. The scoring appeared to be sidelined in this one, too, as just two touchdowns were scored as the Vikings found their way into the end-zone twice and topped the Steelers, 14-3.
As boring as this game was, overall, football still returned and it wasn’t completely useless. We still found a few nuggets we can lean on to help us prepare for fantasy football drafts. It was only two teams and most of the players were backups, but here’s what we learned:
Landry Jones Isn’t an NFL Quarterback
There is no denying the fact that Jones has the size, arm and body type of a classic pocket passer. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do all the small things even a quality backup needs to be able to do. For the game, Jones completed just 50% of 32 attempts, mustered a lousy 135 passing yards and failed to lead his offense to a touchdown despite getting the entire game to do so. It’s just one game of extensive action, but the 26-year old didn’t impress the past two years and was a shaky prospect coming out of Oklahoma. On Sunday night he looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times and missed his receivers high more than few times – one especially bad throw that should have been a touchdown.
Le’Veon Bell Better Stay Healthy
Bell will miss the first two games of the 2015 NFL regular season and then he’ll be back, but the Steelers better hope he never goes down with a serious injury after that. We didn’t get to see veteran rusher DeAngelo Williams, but the 32-year old can’t be expected to give the Steelers much, while there is nothing else beyond these two guys on this depth chart. Dri Archer is explosive but is simply too small to be an every down threat, while Cameron Stingily is a pedestrian talent that probably doesn’t belong on an NFL roster.
Kyle Rudolph Returns
Rudolph has had a bothersome injury history in his young career, but he made a nice return to the field, catching two passes for 22 yards early on. It was small exposure but it’s clear Teddy Bridgewater sees him as a safety net and may go to him early and often. Blessed with great size, physicality and some athleticism, Rudolph should be creeping up draft boards.
Cordarrelle Patterson is a Work in Progress
C-Patt didn’t get to work with the first team but he failed to impress running with the two’s. One short pass intended for him was deflected, but his lone reception went for just six yards. Patterson still looks rigid in his routes and doesn’t have the discipline to beat corners consistently. He’s an explosive play-maker but the fear that he’s more of a gadget player is quite real.
MyCole Pruitt is a Thing
Pruitt had a very nice performance in his rookie debut, securing all four of his targets for 51 yards and a nice 34-yard score. He clearly has NFL talent and should stick on the roster as either Rudolph’s top backup or the third tight end. He’s probably talented enough to be the top backup already and with Rudolph’s shaky injury history, he’s going to be a fun guy to monitor. More than anything, adding his and Rudolph’s roles tonight together shows us the Vikings are going to utilize the the tight end position in 2015.
Sammie Coates May Have Something
It’s early and Coates is pretty buried behind three quality receivers, but he showed in this game he just might be able to make a positive impact as a rookie. Coates separated well on a would-be touchdown that was badly over thrown and then used solid concentration to adjust to a tipped ball to haul in his only catch of the night. Blessed with nice speed and a solid build, Coates isn’t a guy to draft just yet in standard fantasy leagues, but is surely one to keep an eye on.
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