EAGAN (FOX 9) - Mike Zimmer did everything but make it official Tuesday who will be the No. 2 quarterback behind Kirk Cousins.
Kyle Sloter has had an impressive preseason, but Zimmer said "There's a lot of things he has to get better at if he wants to be the back-up quarterback." In his second preseason game Sunday night, Sloter finished 11-of-13 passing for 116 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Brandon Zylstra. He also had a 129.5 quarterback rating.
At New Orleans, Sloter was 6-of-7 passing for 62 yards and a short touchdown pass to Khari Blasingame. His quarterback rating: 143.2. Despite the gaudy stats through two games, it doesn't mean he's gained any ground on Sean Mannion.
"I don't know that you guys know all the little details about everything. You just see how he goes and does the games. He's got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback," said Zimmer, who was especially perturbed by a delay of game penalty Sloter took during the second half Sunday night.
Mannion appears to have had the inside track to the No. 2 job ever since he signed with the Vikings after backing up Jared Goff with the L.A. Rams the previous two seasons. At New Orleans, Mannion was 7-of-13 passing for 102 yards and an 18-yard touchdown to Olabisi Johnson. He had a 105.3 quarterback rating in the game.
The touchdown throw was impressive. He was drilled as he got rid of the ball.
Sunday, he had to show he could bounce back from a turnover. Mannion was looking for Chad Beebe in the second quarter. Beebe appeared to stop his route on the play, and Mannion's throw went right to DeShawn Shead, who picked it off and took it 88 yards for a Seattle touchdown.
Mannion got the points back before the end of the first half, engineering a drive that ended with a touchdown pass to a wide open Irv Smith Jr. in the middle of the end zone. The Vikings got into the red zone on a Mannion short pass to Mike Boone, who shook a tackle and ran 45 yards to set up the score.
"It was big. Obviously that's something you don't want, but I think it was just an opportunity to bounce back and show that I can play with a short memory. Go out there and just keep playing, just take it one play at a time and just try to make every play, execute it the right way and just play with a short memory," Mannion said.
Mannion finished Sunday night 11-of-14 passing for 88 yards and the touchdown, and an 86.9 quarterback rating.
The kid bounced back and led a perfect drive the next time out. That happens in the course of a ball game, that happens in the course of practice, you'll have a bad rep and you really have to move on," offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said. "We don't have time to think about it, so I was proud of how Sean bounced back from that."
Through two preseason games, Sloter is completing 85 percent of his passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Mannion is 18-of-27 (66.6 percent) for 190 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
So does Mannion feel like he's won the No. 2 job? He says it's not really his concern.
"That's not for me to say. I feel really strongly that I've put my best foot forward every day since I've been here. I felt great about my work in the spring, I felt good about my camp and my two preseason games so far. I'm not going to really worry myself with what other people are thinking," Mannion said.
Tuesday practice notes
- Specialist Kaare Vedvik handled kicking duties in Tuesday's practice, with Matt Wile holding for both his live sessions. Vedvik finished 5-of-6 on the day. He made all three in his first session from 33, 37 and 41 yards. He was 2-of-3 in his second session. Vedvik converted from 43 yards on the left hash, 46 yards on the right hash and missed wide right from 50 yards out. Vedvik got one more kick in a situational drill with the game tied 10-10. His try from 59 yards out was down the middle, but fell short.
- Linval Joseph returned to practice on Tuesday. He played 15 games last season and called 2018 his "hardest season," battling leg and arm injuries after Week 5. In five seasons with the Vikings, Joseph has missed just five games. He didn't say if he would play Saturday. "Every day you practice is another day to get better. You're only getting better or worse, you can never stay the same. All that it takes every day and give it my all, try to get better. I think that's what the coach is asking for," Joseph said.
- Former Vikings' defensive end Brian Robison was a guest at practice Tuesday. He signed a one-day contract in April and officially retired from the NFL after 10 seasons with the Vikings. Robison had 60 sacks in 173 career games with the Vikings, which ranks fifth in team history.