Vikings Lose to Bills, Can Starting Lineup Save Preseason?


The Vikings have a lot to figure out when they get back to training camp this week after they suffered another loss to the Buffalo Bills’ 20-16. Between Jerry Hughes and the Bills’ defense ability to stop Christian Ponder and the lack of Adrian Peterson for the second preseason game.

Ponder was on the run and off the mark in five series with the Vikings’ first-team offense on Friday night, completing five of his 12 passes for 53 yards, getting sacked twice and tackled for a loss when John Sullivan’s shotgun snap got by him. He led a 12-play, 62-yard drive that led to Blair Walsh’s 36-yard field goal, but the Vikings did not record a first down in his other four series.

The Bills took a 10-point lead at halftime, then ran with it to 17 by the fourth quarter and then they went for the win. One of the few bright spots of next week’s game is that the Vikings are likely to play its starters for at least the first half of a nationally-televised exhibition contest against the 49ers.

The ultimate hope for the Vikings is that Ponder will bring his A game, whatever that is.

There were times that it looked like he had everything under control.  He even managed to side-step a rush to find Kyle Rudolph for 11 yards on the Vikings’ scoring drive. He also drew the Bills offside twice with hard counts. But the Vikings’ offensive line struggled to pick up Buffalo’s pass rushers, and on his final play, Ponder stepped outside of Matt Asiata’s chip block and stepped into the grasp of Bills defensive end Alex Carrington as he threw incomplete to Cordarrelle Patterson.

Then the Vikings got the ball back with less than two minutes left, but Bethel-Thompson’s attempt to engineer a late comeback ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down.