Vikings-Buffalo preseason game preview

  • August 16, 2012 - 10:33 PM


7 p.m. Friday at Mall of America Field • TV: Ch. 11 • Radio: 100.3-FM and 1130-AM


Vikings rookie Matt Kalil has had his hands full with Jared Allen throughout training camp. That should be good preparation to face Buffalo's Mario Williams, who was the offseason's biggest free-agent winner, landing a contract worth $100 million over six seasons. Williams had five sacks in five games a year ago with the Texans but went on injured reserve for the final 11 games with a torn pectoral muscle. ... The Bills spread offense will provide a nice test. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't afraid to take chances and is adept at getting the ball out quickly. The Bills also love to utilize their two versatile running backs. Fred Jackson averaged 137.6 yards from scrimmage per game in his 10 contests in 2011 but then broke his leg. With Jackson's health iffy, C.J. Spiller will get added chances to shine. ... The Bills have two backup QBs who will be intriguing to watch: Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen. Young is trying to revive his career after fizzling out in both Tennessee and Philadelphia the past two seasons. Thigpen was originally a seventh-round draft choice by the Vikings in 2007 and made 11 starts for Kansas City in '08.


After sitting out last week's game in San Francisco, the members of the Vikings' 30-plus crowd on defense -- Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield -- will play early Friday night. Allen gets a tantalizing match-up against rookie left tackle Cordy Glenn. As a whole, the defense will have to be better after giving up 260 rushing yards to the 49ers a week ago. ... QB Christian Ponder led a pair of field-goal drives in his two possessions in San Francisco and will now try to take the Vikings into the end zone for the first time in 2012. If the first-team offensive line holds up as it did a week ago -- which will be no small feat with Williams and Mark Anderson coming off the edge -- it will be worth monitoring Ponder's patience and decision-making. ... Adrian Peterson returned to practice this week but will not play, which means the first-quarter workload will again belong to Toby Gerhart, who rushed for 31 yards on five carries last week. ... Keep an eye on rookie defensive backs Josh Robinson and Robert Blanton, potential future starters in the secondary who should make their NFL debuts tonight.


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