Vikings end 2019 preseason on sour note with loss to Bills

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Kyle Sloter
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) Kyle Sloter /

The Minnesota Vikings sat most of their important players, but their special teams and a late touchdown marred their performance against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night.

For most of the preseason, the Minnesota Vikings had to be pleased with their performance. Outside of a lackluster showing in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Vikings have played well throughout the 2019 preseason and they looked to finish strong in their final exhibition game at Buffalo on Thursday night.

With Minnesota sitting a majority of their key players against the Bills, this was an opportunity for several players on the roster bubble to win jobs. As the clock ran out on the preseason, however, more players may have lost jobs as the Vikings fell 27-23 to Buffalo on Thursday.

One of the players who may have cost himself was specialist Kaare Vedvik. After spending most of the preseason trying to figure out what he’s good at, Minnesota gave him one last shot to take over as the team’s kicker. Instead, Vedvik made an extra point and a 27-yard field goal, but he missed from 37 yards away during the first half.

Meanwhile, incumbent Dan Bailey converted field goals from 43 and 54 yards away while adding an extra point to possibly retain his job when the Vikings’ final roster cuts are made on Saturday.

As for the positives, quarterback Kyle Sloter started the game with Minnesota deciding to rest Sean Mannion and he turned in another solid preseason performance. Sloter went 16-for-24 with 163 yards and a 15-yard touchdown to Ameer Abdullah, but he also threw an interception.

Thanks in part to his performance, the Vikings were able to build a 23-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter. From that point, the Bills came back as they capitalized off of mistakes and poor special teams play by Minnesota.

Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson led the comeback with a six-yard touchdown scramble and Marcus Murphy rattled off a 79-yard punt return for a score that put the Bills within striking distance.

Jackson would get another opportunity after a three-and-out by the Vikings’ offense. He was able to drive Buffalo down the field and finish the game with an eight-yard touchdown pass to David Sills for the winning score.

While their preseason ended on a negative note, Minnesota can still see plenty of positives from the last four weeks including no major injuries.

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With the preseason now in the rearview mirror, the Vikings will shift their focus to preparing for their regular season opener on September 8 inside U.S. Bank Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons.