Preseason II: Highlights, Lowlights and Notes

The Vikings showed some impressive signs, some changes in assignments and some injuries in Atlanta. Get the pertinent notes from the Vikings' first preseason loss.

ECONOMY ON OFFENSE
At 7:19 of the first quarter, the Vikings had more points than plays. Their first drive, starting from the 30-yard line after a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff, went four plays and was capped by a 1-yard dive by Moe Williams. Their second drive went 94 yards in six plays and was capped by a 67-yard pass from Daunte Culpepper to Randy Moss, showing the Vikings can effectively pound the ball or score in a hurry. At that point, they had run 10 plays for 14 points.

GOOD HOLD, GOOD KICK
The Vikings talked about using a new holder for kicker Aaron Elling, and they followed through with that on Elling's first field goal in Atlanta, a 47-yarder. Gus Frerotte has taken over the holding duties from Darren Bennett.

PRESSURE WITHOUT THE SACK
With the first-team offense of the Falcons in the game, the Vikings defense wasn't able to register a sack, but the young defenders of the front seven pressured Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick often and showed good containing patience. Between Kevin Williams and Kenechi Udeze on the defensive line, and E.J. Henderson and Dontarrious Thomas at linebacker — a combined two years of NFL experience between the four of them — they show tremendous instincts and upside.

HOLDING THE LINE
* The Vikings showed a couple of solid goal-line stands in Atlanta. Midway through the second quarter, the Falcons were facing first-and-goal on the 2-yard line. In three downs — an incompletion and two rushes — the Falcons only gained 1 yard. On fourth down, a holding call backed them up and forced on the field goal unit.

In the third quarter, the Falcons faced first-and-goal on the 3-yard line. Big running back T.J. Duckett got 2 yards on the first carry but was stuffed by Rod Davis for no gain on second down. Instead of testing the run defense on third down, the Falcons got the touchdown with a 1-yard play-action pass to Stanley Pritchett.

THE INJURY PILE
* Safety Tyrone Carter suffered an injury to his left knee with 1:15 left in the first half of the Falcons game when Willie Offord landed on it. He left the game with assistance, with the initial diagnosis as a knee sprain.

* Wide receiver Marcus Robinson did not play. He was held out to rest a sore hamstring.

* Center Cory Withrow suffered a concussion on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage against the Falcons Friday night. He left the game, being replaced by Bill Conaty. He returned for a few plays in the second half, but was pulled after a penalty. He returned one more time later in the second half.



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