Texans beat Vikings in preseason finale
Houston coach Gary Kubiak was evasive when asked if Trindon Holliday had finally secured a roster spot.
It's safe to say he will be after his third kick return for a touchdown in four games this preseason.
The former LSU track star brought back a punt 76 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Justin Forsett rushed for 114 yards in the Texans' 28-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the exhibition finale Thursday night at Reliant Stadium, where a fan was taken to a Houston hospital after falling from an escalator.
A statement issued by officials of Reliant Park, where the stadium is situated, said nothing about the fan's condition.
The 5-foot-5 Holliday also returned a kickoff 87 yards in the preseason opener at Carolina and a punt 90 yards for a score against San Francisco before fumbling twice against New Orleans last week. Teams trim their rosters to 53 players on Friday, and Holliday still wasn't sure if he convinced Kubiak to keep him.
"You're asking me to say that now? Nobody has made it," Kubiak said. "We're not finished yet. He's made a heck of a case for himself."
Holliday knew he had to shine before training camp began.
"The plan was just to come out and just make plays and show the team that I can be a special guy," Holliday said.
Jordan Todman rushed for 114 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown for Minnesota. Jarius Wright caught six passes for 122 yards, including a touchdown for the Vikings. Devin Aromashodu also caught a TD pass for the Vikings.
Minnesota punted after its first possession of the second half. Holliday made a quick move, broke a tackle and easily outran Minnesota's pack of defenders, slowing down in his final strides. Holliday hopes he gets a chance to show he can do it in the regular season, too.
"It hasn't been a secret, you know," Holliday said. "It's just being smart about everything and just coming out and working hard.
"I think I can consistently do it."
In the second half, backup quarterbacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Case Keenum got their last chances to impress coaches.
Bethel-Thompson, an undrafted free agent out of Sacramento State in 2011, went 15 for 29 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Vikings in his first action since the preseason opener. Keenum, an undrafted rookie who set NCAA passing records at the University of Houston, went 5 for 10 for 43 yards.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier needed to sort out the depth at running back behind Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. Matt Asiata had six carries for 45 yards and Lex Hilliard carried seven times for 33 in the first half, and Todman started Minnesota's first series of the second half.
Peterson is recovering from major left knee surgery.
"I think he'll probably be a `game-time' decision," Frazier said of Peterson's likely availability for the opener against Jacksonville. "We've got a lot of things we want to get done with him this week, and I doubt that we would know without getting him through an entire week, if we thought he was ready to play a game."
Joe Webb started for Minnesota and went 4 for 7 with 22 yards rushing on two carries in two series. Blair Walsh atoned for an earlier miss with a 36-yard field goal to make it 7-3.
Houston starter John Beck found Lestar Jean for a 27-yard gain when the Texans regained possession. He threw behind Jean in the end zone from the Minnesota 5, and the Vikings stopped Forsett at the goal line on fourth down. Tackle Rashad Butler, who lost the starting job to Derek Newton, tore his right triceps during that series. Kubiak said Butler is out for the season.
On Houston's next play from scrimmage, Beck was hit as he completed a short pass to DeVier Posey, who broke two tackles and sprinted 80 yards for a touchdown, the breakthrough play coaches have been waiting to see from him. Posey later fumbled after a hit in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels faced heavy pressure in the second period, and was sacked twice. He took another hit as he found Aromashodu across the middle late in the half, and Aromashodu bounced off Troy Nolan and ran for a 58-yard touchdown.
Bethel-Thompson made a case for himself after Holliday's big return, floating a perfect pass to Wright for a 59-yard touchdown. He started 3 for 4, and the incompletion bounced off Stephen Burton's fingertips.
NOTES: Frazier said Wright sprained his left ankle. ... The Vikings were minus-3 in turnovers through the first three preseason games, and Reggie Jones' fumbled punt set up Forsett's second touchdown run. ... Minnesota finished with 562 total yards. ... Posey, a third-round draft pick, had two catches in the game. ... Beck finished 6 for 10 for 149 yards. ... The Vikings and Texans meet again in the regular season, at Reliant Stadium on Dec. 23.
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