First Team Offense Struggles In Vikings’ 20-16 Loss To Bills


Aug 16, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills center David Snow (61) waits to snap the ball during the second half \am at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo defeats Minnesota 20 to 16. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings have fallen to 0-2 in the preseason, a fact that is completely irrelevant. Maybe nothing about last night’s game was relevant, it all depends on how you want to look at things. Does it matter that Christian Ponder and the first team offense struggled mightily for a quarter-plus?

A few factors to remember here. #1: Adrian Peterson did not take a single snap last night. We know the entire Vikings attack is predicated on Peterson’s ability to dictate to the opposition. Remove that factor and you have a very weak offense. #2 factor to remember: Christian Ponder is still working to find chemistry with some of his receivers. He’s never thrown to Greg Jennings or Cordarrelle Patterson before this year, and he has limited experience with Jarius Wright and Jerome Simpson.

The third factor to consider is the way the Bills came out on defense. Buffalo is trying to remake itself as an aggressive blitzing team and last night they showed it. Clearly they made a conscious decision to come out in front of the home crowd and really crank it up, hopefully cranking up the fans’ enthusiasm as well. If I were a Buffalo fan I would be pumped about the blitz-happy defense the Bills showed last night at the Vikings’ expense.

Overall it just wasn’t a particularly good effort by the Vikings. They looked sloppy on offense and defense. They only moved the ball late after the Bills had pretty much packed it in for the night. A few Vikes did manage to stand out amid the mediocrity. Bobby Felder did a nice job on special teams, and in doing so moved a step closer to securing a roster spot. Zach Line once again did some good things on offense. So did running back Joe Banyard who is becoming an intriguing option. And Joe Webb made a couple plays late, possibly working his way into the discussion as a roster keeper.

In the end there just isn’t much of value to extract and pick apart from Friday night’s effort. The offense is never going to look good without Peterson out there. And the passing game, as we know, is a work-in-progress. The main point to remember is that we should not treat Friday night’s performance as some kind of indictment of Christian Ponder. Laying it all on him would be silly. That was a total team suckfest.

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