The Jacksonville Jaguars arrived in the Twin Cities on Tuesday night for a week of joint events with the Minnesota Vikings, and left Saturday evening with their first preseason victory of 2018, beating the host Vikings by a score of 14-10.
It was the first time both conference championship runner-ups were able to display their new rosters as the game was broadcast nationally on NFL Network and both renowned defenses showed up and showed out in a big way.
Blake Bortles went 12-for-20 for 159 yards and a badly thrown interception to safety Harrison Smith. He also had a poorly thrown ball on the Jaguars’ opening drive that should’ve been intercepted as well. That said, “Good Blake” did show up after the two opening bad drives. Following the interception, Malik Jackson stripped Vikings running back Latavious Murray and Yannick Ngakoue recovered to regain possession for the Jaguars. Bortles proceeded to lead a drive down the field for 70 yards on 12 plays, using his arm and legs, capping it off with a one-yard Leonard Fournette touchdown run on fourth down.
On the flip side of the field, the Jaguars front end defense held the Vikings offense to under 60 yards total with the starters in during the first half and allowed big-ticket free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins just 12 yards on eight attempts, including a sack early by Ngakoue.
Cousins never seemed comfortable against the Jaguars front seven, and the Vikings’ well known weapons like Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen, never got involved in the game.
The game ended for both teams’ starters with the Jaguars leading 7-3.
The rest of the game was a slop fest dominated by both defenses, as neither Cody Kessler nor Vikings Trevor Siemian were able to generate much in the passing game. The Vikings were able to cash in later in the second half gashing the Jaguars back ups in the running game to take a 10-7 lead up through the two minute warning, when Rashad Greene Sr. returned a punt 54 yards to the Vikings five-yard line, where Jaguars running back Brandon Wilds capped it with a two-yard touchdown run to decide the game 14-10.
The Jaguars now return home after five days up north, and prepare for what will be the final preseason game for the starters, as they will face the Atlanta Falcons a week from today at TIAA Bank Field.