Friday, August 16, 2013
Preseason Week 2: Vikings 'O' sluggish
By Kevin Seifert
Reviewing Friday night's events at Ralph Wilson Stadium:
Buffalo Bills 20, Minnesota Vikings 16
Preseason record: 0-2
Of interest: The evening began with left tackle Matt Kalil getting beat for a sack by Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, and it didn't get much better, at least for a Vikings offense that again played without tailback Adrian Peterson. Coaches got quarterback Christian Ponder five series of work, but he took two sacks and was jumpy enough to complete only 5-of-12 passes for 53 yards. He led a 62-yard scoring drive, ending in a Blair Walsh's 36-yard field goal, but otherwise the Vikings gained a total of 20 yards on his other possessions. (Walsh earlier missed from 49 yards.) The Bills' rush was active, and center John Sullivan launched an early shotgun snap to scuttle one play, but all quarterbacks face adversity during the season. Ponder needed to react better and at times quicker Friday night. If you were hoping for an anxiety-relieving performance from him, this wasn't it. … Three of Ponder's completions went to tight end Kyle Rudolph, who also dropped an easy third-down pass. … The Vikings' defense played well against an equally underwhelming performance from Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb. Safety Jamarca Sanford intercepted a pass tipped by cornerback Xavier Rhodes, and linebacker Desmond Bishop showed up several times in extensive playing time -- albeit mostly with the third team. But he was also the closest defender on Brad Smith's 4-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel in the third quarter. … Punter Jeff Locke dropped three punts inside the 20, two of which were downed by special-teams hopeful Bobby Felder. … No. 3 quarterback McCleod Bethel-Thompson's 10-of-17 performance was, if nothing else, a nice showing to put on tape if the Vikings elect to keep two quarterbacks. … Receiver Jarius Wright suffered a concussion and did not play after halftime.
Up next: Aug. 25 at San Francisco 49ers.