After holding Bell to just 13 touches in the opener, Pittsburgh took off the restrictor plate. The workhorse took 27 carries for 87 yards. Against a stingy Vikings front that got consistent backfield penetration, Bell was held to 3.2 yards per carry, but churned out chunk gains in the fourth quarter to help the Steelers salt away the win. With a diverse receiver corps, Roethlisberger didn’t target Bell much in the passing game (four receptions for four yards on four targets). Sunday’s workload proved the Steelers used Week 1 as a tune-up for Bell. We expect dual-threat to get his standard 25-30 touches the rest of the way.
Sam Bradford sat out with a knee injury leaving Case Keenum to make his first start for the Vikings. In the first half, Minnesota’s offense looked more like the bogged down, short-pass operation we saw last season than the field-stretching operation we saw last week. Like most backups, Keenum had his moments — a sideline strike to Stefon Diggs on the team’s only touchdown drive was a beauty — but the QB looked slow to pull the trigger at times. After a stellar Week 1, the Vikings’ offensive line got swallowed by Steelers pass rushers, getting Keenum battered repeatedly. Keenum performed about like you’d expect a backup making a last-minute start at Heinz Field. He didn’t turn the ball over or kill his team, but he’s not a difference-maker either. The Vikings hope Bradford can return after missing just one week.
“I don’t think the identity of the team is going to change too much. I don’t think we’re going to go to The Greatest Show on Turf, and I don’t think we’re going to be the ’85 Bears, either. But this team has some talent, and we’ve got a chance.”
The Vikes have really felt that way since they had the mighty Seattle Seahawks beat in a divisional playoff game 19 months ago — until Blair Walsh yanked a 27-yard game-winning field-goal attempt. Seemingly every bit of their luck since followed that thing wide left.
The Vikings announced late Wednesday night they signed the former Raiders running back who rushed for 788 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns on 195 carries last season in Oakland. It’s a three-year deal worth roughly $15 million, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The Vikings, who released longtime starter Adrian Peterson in February, ranked last in the league in rushing yards per game in 2016, averaging just 75.3. Murray totaled 4.0 yards per carry last year and has rushed for 2,278 yards in his career.
Greenway was praised as much for his off-field work as his on-field ferocity. The linebacker received accolades from his community service. He created the Lead The Way Foundation, which enhances education and health opportunities for children and families in need. In 2007, Greenway was named the Vikings’ Ed Block Courage Award winner after returning from a season-ending knee injury suffered during his rookie season.
Greenway had been contemplating retirement since the end of the season, ahead of potential free agency, but said he had no plans to play anywhere other than Minnesota.
Cook is a first-round talent that slipped into the second round due to off-field concerns, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound back dealt with injuries at FSU and best selling nfl jerseys and didn’t have the best measurables at the combine, but his game tape made scouts drool. Cook is a three-down back, who averaged 6.5 yards per rush during three college seasons and earned 1,000-plus yards each season.
Ridley spent the offseason with the Denver Broncos, carrying 38 times for 109 yards (2.9 yards per attempt) this preseason. The 28-year-old running back has turned into a journeyman the past several years since leaving the New England Patriots following a 2014 ACL tear. He spent 2015 with the New York Jets. He signed with the Detroit Lions in the 2016 offseason before getting cut prior to the start of the season. He appeared in one game for the Atlanta Falcons last season. After compiling a 1,200-yard season in 2012 and 773 yards in 2013, Ridley’s speed and power deteriorated following the knee injury.
Ridley looked better this preseason than he did in 2016 but should be merely depth addition in Minnesota. Latavius Murray is expected to be the lead back, with Jerick McKinnon the third-down tailback. Both Murray and McKinnon themselves aren’t 100 percent healthy. If Ridley is forced to play a significant role, it will mean more went wrong for the Vikings backfield.