Wingin’ It: Vikings escape Buffalo with their first preseason win of the year

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 10: Rodney Adams
ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 10: Rodney Adams /

The Minnesota Vikings opened their 2017 preseason with a win over the Buffalo Bills by a score of 17 to 10 on Thursday night.

It certainly was not pretty, but the Minnesota Vikings were able to come out with a win on Thursday night in their first preseason game of the year by defeating the Buffalo Bills 17 to 10.

Overall, the Vikings’ came out sloppy. Allowing quarterback Sam Bradford to get sacked twice on the offense’s first two drives and giving up over 100 rushing yards to the Bills in the first half.

Bradford ended up staying in for three of Minnesota’s offensive drives and he finished the night completing five of his seven passes for 35 yards. His longest throw of the night was a nine-yard screen pass to Vikings running back Dalvin Cook that traveled three yards in the air before it landed in the hands of the rookie.

In the battle to be Bradford’s backup this year, Case Keenum has the edge after Thursday night. The veteran quarterback completed 11 of his 16 passes for 121 yards. His competition in Taylor Heinicke was a bit underwhelming to say the least as he only completed three of eight passes for 20 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.

Cook looked pretty solid in his NFL debut Thursday night in Buffalo. The rookie running back finished with a total of 43 yards on nine touches and four of those times he got the ball came from passes out of the backfield.

He did make a mistake that led to one of Bradford’s sacks, but that is something that can be worked on as the regular season creeps closer.

Fellow rookie Stacey Coley stood out among Minnesota’s pass catchers Thursday, leading the team with 67 receiving yards. The majority of which came on a play that resulted in the wide receiver gaining a total of 38 yards thanks to some nifty moves and a little speed to get by the Bills’ defense.

The performance put on the field by the Vikings’ offensive line in Buffalo is not one that anyone will be bragging about. Their faults mostly came when the first unit was on the field (two sacks allowed on the first two drives), so that unfortunately is still a worry heading into the regular season.

On the other side of the ball, Minnesota’s run defense still appears to be something that has not improved. The Bills had four runs of seven yards or more during the first quarter alone when the Vikings had their top defenders on the field.

Stopping the run was a weakness of Minnesota’s in 2016 and it needs to be fixed in order for the team to succeed in 2017.

The Vikings’ defense may have to take the field without one of their starting corners next week as Trae Waynes left the game on Thursday after just two plays with a shoulder injury. After the game, Zimmer said his corner’s shoulder was just sore so hopefully it is nothing too major.

In an interesting move, the Vikings had rookie receiver Rodney Adams take turns on Thursday as both their kick returner and their punt returner. He had a nice little return of 27 yards on a kickoff, but nothing to think it is his job for the taking.

Minnesota’s normal return man, cornerback Marcus Sherels, played in the game but did not return any kicks.

Kicker Kai Forbath and punter Taylor Symmank seem to be in the lead of their offseason position battles after their performances in Buffalo. Forbath converted on a 36-yard field goal and Symmank had three of his four punts land inside the Bills’ 20-yard line.

Next: Carlson's review: Vikings at Bills

With the win, Zimmer’s all-time preseason record has improved to 13-1 and the Vikings’ seem to be on the verge of a preseason dynasty. Do not schedule the parade just yet though, as Minnesota will head to the west coast for a matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next Friday, August 18 at 9 p.m. CT.