LAS VEGAS — One of the biggest questions facing first-time Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels was where he would find the right pieces for his offensive line.
McDaniels may not have all the answers after Sunday’s 26-20 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings, but he’s pleased with what he’s seen in two preseason games.
“I think we have some depth at tackle and some competition,” McDaniels said. “We told them from the first day they came here that this is going to be a situation where guys earn their opportunities and they’re going to define their role.”
Using multiple rotations for nearly every offensive drive, the Raiders (2-0) were able to sustain second-half drives of 10 and 15 plays, both of which resulted in touchdowns, to take control of the game and hold Minnesota (0-1) to length on hand.
“We talked a lot about being productive on first downs,” said quarterback Nick Mullens, who completed 7 of 9 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown. “And I think if you just look at the overall stats in the NFL, if you’re productive on first downs, that’s going to keep you on the schedule to establish good drives. We all came together, our O-line did a really good job, running the ball and playing productively as a unit.”
After gaining just 23 yards on 12 first-down plays in the first half, the Raiders gained 64 yards on 15 first-down plays in the second half.
Of their 12 first-down plays in the first two quarters, the Raiders gained more than four yards just once. Las Vegas gained five or more yards on seven of its 15 first-down plays in the second half.
“You’ve got so many different guys in the O-line group right now taking turns, so you have to get used to everybody because not everybody responds to rotations and double teams the same way,” center Andre James said. “It’s good to plug that in right now and learn how everyone fits in.”
The Raiders finished with 300 yards of offense and averaged 4.3 yards per play, with starter Jarrett Stidham completing 10 of his 15 passes for 68 yards. He also ran for 16 yards on four carries, including a touchdown. Chase Garbers finished the game under center for the Raiders and went 2 for 3 through the air for 19 yards. Brittan Brown rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries, including one touchdown.
Kellen Mond threw for 119 yards on nine completions, including two touchdowns, for the Vikings in the preseason opener. Sean Mannion finished 8 of 12 for 79 yards.
Veteran Albert Wilson caught two passes for Minnesota, both for touchdowns.
“There were a lot of really, really positive things that I took out of everything,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said. Obviously, we let those quarterbacks compete, so sometimes we might put a little more in the passing game to see how those guys do in certain normal situations.”
The Raiders were 8 of 16 (50%) on third down, 2 for 2 (100%) on fourth down and 2 for 3 (66.7%) in the red zone.
The Vikings were 1-for-7 (14.2%) on third down, 1-for-1 (100%) on fourth down and 2-for-4 (50%) in the red zone.
The Vikings were penalized eight times for 71 yards, including seven offenses for 66 yards in the first half.
Raiders owner Mark Davis and tight end Darren Waller, who hasn’t practiced since July 30, attended Sunday’s WNBA game between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm on Interstate 15 from Allegiant Stadium, Mandalay Bay. The Aces’ 109-100 win sealed the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs. The WNBA game ended shortly before halftime of the Raiders game, so it’s likely that both Davis and Waller will make it in time for the second half.
“I think he was there before our game started, which I understand. He wasn’t going to play today, so I don’t want to do any more than what he was,” McDaniels said of Waller’s absence for the Allegiant throughout the game.
Vikings: QB Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week and is not traveling with the team. The Vikings’ next practice is Tuesday, which puts Cousins on track to return to the field then.
Raiders: DE Malcolm Kuhns was concussed in the first quarter but later returned to the game.
Vikings: host the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.
Raiders: Visit the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.