The Minnesota Vikings fell to 0-2 in the 2013 pre-season with a 20-16 loss on Friday night to the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
I haven't had an opportunity to watch the entire game. . .I'll have a more in-depth look at things after I get a chance to watch the replay. . .but I did get to see the first half. Frankly, there's no way to sugar coat things. . .the first team offense looked like hot garbage (with the exception of Kyle Rudolph, and even he had a dropped pass). The offensive line was getting killed during the entire portion of the game that I saw, as the Bills constantly brought extra rushers and the Vikings didn't appear to make any real adjustments. Even Matt Kalil got beaten pretty badly a couple of times. I'm not going to start to panic, because it is only the pre-season, but this is something that needs to get figured out.
Even when the offense was set up to succeed in this one, they managed to screw it up. A Jamarca Sanford interception off of a deflection by rookie Xavier Rhodes gave the Vikings the ball at the Buffalo 31-yard line, but on the first play of the ensuing drive, center John Sullivan snapped the ball early. The ball went well over Christian Ponder's head, resulting in a 14-yard loss. Blair Walsh missed a field goal to cap that drive.
Ponder struggled as the offensive line did, finishing just 5-for-12 for 53 yards. Rudolph was the recipient of 39 of those yards on three catches.
Conversely, I thought the first team defense looked pretty good. I mentioned Xavier Rhodes having the deflection that led to an interception for the Vikings, and the Vikings' starting defense forced the Bills to punt four times in five drives to go along with that interception.
The play of the offensive line in this one, and the offense in general, is cause for some worry, to be sure. Hopefully the Vikings will have an answer for this going into next weekend's game, a prime time. . .well, as "prime time" as you can get in the pre-season, anyway. . .tilt with the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.
Again, we'll have more on this game over the course of the next day or two.