Aug. 10, 1998

Year 2 of the Pete Carroll Administration did little in the preseason to get the masses’ hearts thumping wildly. In their second exhibition game, the Patriots kick-started the grumbling that typically doesn’t arrive until the real games begin, losing to the Minnesota Vikings at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 28-0.

Had the nothingness been confined to the second- or third-teams, it would have produced indifference. No one gets too excited about the backups’ performance in exhibition games, be they OK or awful.

But the first half of this pretend game belonged to the first team. And it was offensive, in the ugly-stench sense of the word.

Drew Bledsoe attempted 15 passes, completing seven, with one interception, for 74 yards. He was also sacked three times, which is legitimately whether it happens in a regular-season game, an exhibition game, or messing around in the backyard.

The ground game gobbled up 66 yards – for the full four quarters.

Carroll said he wasn’t concerned with the lack of tangible results, that the Pats did what they set out to do – take care of house-cleaning chores such seamless substitutions and eliminating false starts.

It’s fair to say that did little to calm anyone’s angst.

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