MINNEAPOLIS -- The Vikings' banged-up secondary took another blow on Jacksonville's second offensive play Saturday when cornerback Ken Irvin injured his big right toe.
Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell completed a short pass to Jimmy Smith and Irvin missed the tackle, allowing Smith to gain 12 yards. Irvin lay on the ground for a few moments before being carted off the field.
Irvin, who played with New Orleans last season, signed with the Vikings in the offseason to help bolster Minnesota's defensive backfield, which has been a weak spot on a struggling defense over the past few seasons.
Cornerbacks Denard Walker, Eric Kelly, Brian Williams and Horace Willis have all had injuries during training camp this year. Kelly sat out Saturday's game.
Irvin didn't return and was replaced by Williams.
DEFENSE ON THE SPOT: Many eyes will be watching how the Vikings defense fares this preseason.
After ranking near the bottom of the NFL last season, the team made another effort to revamp the defense.
On Saturday, the secondary gave up 165 passing yards. Against the run, Minnesota held the Jaguars to 60 yards on the ground.
"The defense overall played well," tackle Chris Hovan said.
"But we've still got to do a lot more other things if we want to be the defense we want to be."
Head coach Mike Tice, meanwhile, was pleased with his team's pass rush -- something he specifically said he would watch for on Saturday. Jacksonville was 1-for-10 on third down and the Jaguars quarterbacks were sacked three times.
"We did fair," defensive end Kenny Mixon said. "We had some opportunities that we missed, we've got to take advantage of every opportunity we get. We came out here and we put some decent pressure on the quarterback."
NED'S FUMBLE: In the quest to become Michael Bennett's replacement, Larry Ned might have hurt his chances when he fumbled on the Jacksonville 3 at the end of the second quarter. Jacksonville's Ike Charlton returned the fumble 97 yards for a touchdown to put the Jaguars up at halftime and deflate the Vikings.
"I was trying to make something happen and I should have just ate it up," Ned said. "But I tried to make something happen and the ball got away from me. That was that."
"You just make certain mistakes. Can't dwell on it. If you dwell on it, it will continue to snowball. So you just move on and come back next week."
SPECIAL TEAMS: If there was one unit that struggled more than the defense did last season, it was special teams. On Saturday, the unit made a few impressive plays but also gave up some big return yards.
Jack Brewer, a second-year player who led the team with 26 special teams tackles last year, made a nice tackle on kick coverage in the first half. Brewer had been in the running for the second starting safety position next to Corey Chavous, but fell behind Willie Offord and Brian Russell. So special teams will likely be Brewer's spot again this year.
Nick Murphy had an impressive 57-yard punt in the second quarter. But he had one blocked in the fourth, putting the Jaguars in good field position. One of the things new special teams coach Rusty Tillman has been harping on in training camp has been the ability of his young punters to get their kicks off quickly.
Overall, Minnesota's kick coverage allowed 16 yards on punt returns and 87 on kickoffs.
ROOKIE WATCH: Punter/placeholder Eddie Johnson came a yard away from a touchdown in the third quarter after mishandling a snap on a field goal attempt from the Jacksonville 6.
Johnson, Minnesota's sixth-round draft pick out of Idaho State, took the snap and ran right before being forced out of bounds just shy of the end zone. Tice thought Johnson made it in and challenged the play, but instant replay showed otherwise.
Onterrio Smith, a fourth-round draft choice from Oregon, scored on the next play to put the Vikings up 14-13. Smith finished with 33 yards on 12 carries.
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