MINNEAPOLIS -- Two days after the outlook for their 2016 season was delivered a jolt by Teddy Bridgewater's season-ending knee injury, the Minnesota Vikings mostly needed to get through their final preseason game without any more damage to their quarterback depth chart.
As far as it concerned the quarterbacks likely to play a significant role in their 2016 season, the Vikings' end to the preseason was a success.
They planned to keep Shaun Hill out of the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams, and were able to do so even though Joel Stave left with a hand injury. Brad Sorensen went the rest of the way, keeping the Vikings from having to use the only quarterback on their roster who's thrown a pass in a NFL game.
General manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings hope to add a quarterback to their roster in the next 48 hours, meaning the two quarterbacks who played on Thursday night aren't likely to be a significant factor in the 2016 season. Essentially, the Vikings needed to get through Thursday night without any more health catastrophes at quarterback, and they appeared to do so in their 27-25 win over the Rams.
QB depth chart: With Hill -- the team's new starting quarterback -- sitting out on Thursday night, the Vikings gave the start to Stave in their final preseason game. The undrafted free agent completed 9 of 18 passes for 76 yards, before getting knocked out of the game late in the second quarter. Sorensen finished the game, going 4-of-9 for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Maybe that dude could start: Safety Jayron Kearse has put together an impressive preseason, and he made a handful of impressive plays while starting at safety on Thursday night. The 6-foot-4 Kearse had two forceful open-field tackles, and he brought Terrance Magee down for a 2-yard loss in the backfield. Then, with Spielman talking about the safety's strong chance of making the final 53-man roster on the team broadcast, Kearse forced a fumble on a punt return to set up another Vikings touchdown. He finished the night with eight combined tackles, following up on two interceptions and a sack in the Vikings' first three preseason games.
Who got hurt? The injury to Stave's left hand was the most prominent issue of the night for the Vikings, and it put the team in a bind, with Sorensen needing to finish the game. The team didn't want to have to use Hill, and the Vikings struggled to protect their quarterbacks against an aggressive Rams defense. Sorensen, though, was able to finish the game, meaning the Vikings didn't have to delve into any what-if scenarios at quarterback. Offensive lineman Isame Faciane needed to have his right knee examined in the first half, and cornerback Jabari Price limped off the field favoring his right leg in the fourth quarter and headed to the locker room with a knee injury before the end of the game.
A surprise player who impressed: Running back Jhurell Pressley has crafted some impressive moments during training camp and the preseason, and he flashed some slick moves on a 28-yard touchdown from Sorensen, turning a screen pass into a score while eluding several defenders on the sideline. Then, in the third quarter, he broke a handful of tackles on his way to a 106-yard kick return for a touchdown. For the night, Pressley finished with 49 yards on four receptions, also carrying 14 times for 30 yards.
One reason to be concerned: Granted, the Vikings sat most of their starters on the offensive line, but their pass protection issues were noteworthy nonetheless. An aggressive Rams defense notched five sacks and hit Stave and Sorensen on a handful of other plays. The Vikings were playing some of the young linemen they're excited about, but the group struggled to close the preseason.
Numerous starters sit: The Vikings kept almost all of their established players out of Thursday night's game, giving their veterans a conditioning workout during the team's warmups in the end zone. Cornerback Trae Waynes was among those who didn't play, while second-round cornerback Mackensie Alexander was on the field. It's also worth noting that receiver Jarius Wright -- who signed a four-year contract extension a year ago -- started the game and played the entire first half. Wright's time in the top three-receiver set has gone to Adam Thielen during the preseason, and as strange as it sounds, Wright could get pushed for a roster spot in final cuts.
Ovation for Bridgewater: After the Vikings displayed Bridgewater's statement from Thursday afternoon on their video boards -- in which Bridgewater vowed to make a confident return from left knee surgery -- the announced crowd of 66,262 gave the quarterback an extended ovation.