Jared Goff started fast and furious but the Los Angeles Rams faded in the second half as they lost their preseason finale 27-25 on Thursday night at the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Rams committed four turnovers in the game including two fumbles on special teams as the Vikings capitalized on L.A.'s mistakes all-night long.
L.A.'s special teams were atrocious on Thursday as the kickoff coverage team allowed another return touchdown as Jhurell Pressley took a kickoff out of his own endzone for a 106-yard score.
Goff started the game for L.A. as expected Week One starter, Case Keenum, sat as a precaution in order to prepare for the team's first game of the season on Sept. 12 under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
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Goff went 6-for-16 for 67 yards and a touchdown as he orchestrated a game-opening scoring drive with a pass to Kenny Brit in the corner of the endzone to give the Rams the early lead.
The No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick received some important reps under center, but is expected to be third on depth chart behind Keenum and Sean Mannion when the regular season starts.
The fourth and final preseason game gave the Rams coaches an opportunity to see reserve players get playing time as they fight for the final spots on the roster that will eventually get cut from 75-men to 53-men within the next few days.
None of the team's top three running backs played in the game, nor did wide receiver Tavon Austin who signed a contract extension earlier in the week.
Backup quarterback Sean Mannion played the entirety of the second half, finishing 15-for-21 with 135 yards and a touchdown.
Trailing 27-12 in the fourth quarter, Mannion led a valiant comeback as the Rams got within two points, 27-15 with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
After a three-and-out on defense cost head coach Jeff Fisher all of his timeouts, the Rams got the ball back on the Minnesota 38-yard line with 40 seconds remaining.
The Rams needed 30-40 yards to put them in range for a game-winning field goal by Greg Zuerlein, but two bad throws, and back-to-back sacks ended the drive and the game for L.A.
Running back Aaron Green impressed his coaches with a 26-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter to bring the Rams closer to victory.
Minnesota responded well in their final preseason game after their starting quarterback , Teddy Bridgewater, suffered a dislocated knee and torn ACL at practice on Tuesday.
Veteran Shuan Hill was named the starter in Bridgewater's absence, but he did not play in the final preseason game. Joel Stave started the game going 9-for-18 for 76 yards without a touchdown or interception.
Brad Sorensen played in the second half and was 4-for-9 for 53 yards and a touchdown for Minnesota.
Adrian Peterson did not play in the game, but running back C.J. Ham impressed for the Vikings, gaining 59 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.
The exhibition games are now over and it all starts for real in just 11 days.
Players of the Game:
Jhurell Pressley: 106-yard kickoff return for TD and 49 receiving yards TD.
Aaron Green: 66 yards and a TD
Sean Mannion: 135 yards and a TD
1. Bridge Over Troubled Water: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was visited in the hospital on Thursday by Adrian Peterson and other teammates. Bridgewater had just finished surgery on a dislocated kneecap and torn ACL that ended his season on Tuesday. The resilient youngster's was in high spirits, reportedly telling A.P. that he was going to "comeback and win the MVP like you did."
2. Position Battles: The Rams will have to make 22 roster cuts in the coming day and Thursday was an opportunity for many of the position battles to solve themselves on the field. Wide reciever is one of the positions up for grabs with Paul McRoberts impressing with a TD, but fumbling on special teams. Hard Knocks favorite, Austin Hill, made one catch, but likely won't make the final cuts.
3. No Goff Guarantee: After the final preaseason game on Thursday, LA Rams head coach, Jeff Fisher, told the media that No. 1 overall pick, Jared Goff, would be third on the depth chart at the QB position when the season starts on Sept. 12. The news is a surprise to some as Sean Mannion moved ahead of Goff for the backup role during the QB battles in training camp.
Rams (2-2): Los Angeles loses their final preseason game and finishes 2-2. They will head into the regular season fully healthy as they face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, Sept. 12 at Levi's Stadium.
Vikings (4-0): Minnesota ends the preseason undefeated, but without their starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings will open the season on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Tennessee.
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