Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock connected with speedy wide receiver KJ Hamler on an 80-yard touchdown pass during Saturday’s 33-6 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings hosted the Broncos for joint practices last week leading up to the game, so their defense should have known that Hamler is a threat to make big plays deep down the field. After the game, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer expressed his frustration with his team’s defense.
“The funny thing — I guess not funny but — the little kid that caught the long touchdown pass, we practiced against him for two days,” Zimmer said. “You’d think those guys would know his speed and what he’s done. They went one-on-one against him.”
Hamler is 5-9 and 178 pounds, so it’s fair to call him “little” by NFL standards. Zimmer didn’t seem to be making a derogatory remark about Denver’s receiver, but it was a funny choice of words to describe his disappointment with the Vikings’ secondary.
Minnesota’s offense also made mistakes. After practicing against Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II, Vikings quarterback Jake Browning wanted to test the rookie in a game. The result was a 30-yard pick-six for Surtain.
“You would think that Jake would have a pretty good idea on Surtain, on how he plays from going against him for a couple of days,” Zimmer said. “So you can’t leave the ball hanging back behind the guy. You should understand the coverages that you’re going to get because you just saw them for two days. So that part is disappointing.”
It’s clear that Zimmer’s not too happy about Minnesota’s performance against Denver. Broncos coach Vic Fangio, on the other hand, was in good spirits.
“Anytime you play good, even though it’s preseason, it’s a better feeling than losing, you know?” Fangio said. “In the overall scope of things, I still think Minnesota is going to be a good team. They didn’t have a good day today. They didn’t play their best players — offense and the core of their team. But I still think you gain something from playing good and winning.”
Up next for Denver is a road game against the Seattle Seahawks. On deck for the Vikings is another home game, this time against the Indianapolis Colts.