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NFL Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders Preseason: 8 Takeaways From the Minnesota Vikings Game

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From Oakland's Preseason Week 1

Opening Slide
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question that Oakland's first preseason game against the Vikings didn't go the way the team or its fans wanted it to go. The play was sloppy, ragged, and oftentimes disjointed. But if you've been a football fan for any length of time, you know that's the way early preseason games tend to be. Despite the 10-6 setback, there were still good things the Raiders can build upon. Here are eight takeaways from Oakland's first preseason game.

8. Chimdi Chekwa and TJ Carrie Continue to Impress

Chekwa
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

8. Chimdi Chekwa and TJ Carrie Continue to Impress

Chekwa
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With DJ Hayden not expected back for a little while yet, CB's Chimdi Chekwa and TJ Carrie are getting an extended look as a possible solution to Oakland's problems in the secondary. Chekwa recorded two tackles and a pass defensed while Carrie chipped in with three tackles. Both have been impressive through camp and their solid play looks to be carrying over to live game action, which is good for Oakland, bad for Hayden's spot on the depth chart.

7. Offensive Efficiency Must Improve

Offensive Efficiency
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

7. Offensive Efficiency Must Improve

Offensive Efficiency
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bigger problems the Raiders had last season was their efficiency on offense, most notably converting third-down opportunities. In the opening game, that didn't improve at all as Oakland went 4-13 on third down opportunities. This is a trend the Raiders must improve upon to extend drives and get themselves in scoring position – two things they failed to do against Minnesota.

6. Solid Offensive Line Play

Offensive Line
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

6. Solid Offensive Line Play

Offensive Line
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Menelik Watson's false start penalty on the game's first play, Oakland's offensive line held up pretty well overall. They only surrendered two sacks and cleared holes for their running backs to gain positive yardage. Because the unit will likely feature four new starters this season, it's imperative that they jell quickly. And they appear to be doing just that.

5. The Penalty Problems Continue

Penalties
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

5. The Penalty Problems Continue

Penalties2
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The yellow flags continue to be Oakland's biggest problem. And a game that saw the Raiders flagged 13 times for 94 yards did nothing to help fix that problem. Simply put, the Raiders cannot afford to continue shooting themselves in the foot by giving up field position by taking bad penalties. Oakland will need to be a much more disciplined team moving forward and avoid taking costly–and oftentimes stupid–penalties.

4. QB Play Shaky in Opener

QB Play
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

4. QB Play Shaky in Opener

QB Play
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After having such solid play through camp, the Raiders' QBs came out and underwhelmed. Matt Schaub had three unimpressive drives and Derek Carr looked somewhat shaky. The only QB who provided any sort of spark was third-stringer Matt McGloin, who accounted for the Raiders only score. Schaub will need to shake off the nerves and put forward a much better effort for the Raiders to succeed and to move beyond his dismal 2013 season.

3. A Three-Headed Beast in the Backfield

Running Game
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3. A Three-Headed Beast in the Backfield

Running Game
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden saw very limited action but made the most of it. McFadden rumbled for 23 yards on his lone carry and Jones-Drew had 10 yards on his two carries. Second-year back Latavius Murray picked up 28 yards on his seven carries and Kory Sheets–who is on the bubble–picked up 18 on his five carries. Health permitting, the Raiders look to have one of the more formidable backfields in the league.

2. The Defense Has Some Teeth

Sacks
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Defense Has Some Teeth

Sacks
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Sacks were hard to come by for the Raiders last season, as the defensive unit accounted for just 38, which put them in the bottom half of the league. With the additions of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, and first-round pick Khalil Mack, Oakland is hoping to improve upon that statistic. And with six sacks in their preseason opener, they look well on their way to doing just that.

1. Oakland Still Has a lot of Work to Do

Work to Do
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Oakland Still Has a lot of Work to Do

Work to Do
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the loss, not everything to come out of their first preseason game against the Vikings was bad news. There are plenty of good things for the team to build upon as they move forward toward the regular season. But it's clear that the team still has a lot of work to do yet. The Raiders must find a way to jell and improve upon their areas of weakness, and they're going to need to do it quickly.