The Minnesota Vikings won the coin toss for the second week in a row, and elected to receive the opening kickoff from the Buffalo Bills to start things off. Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff. . .and didn't even make the 10-yard line. You read that correctly. The Vikings started from their 7-yard line, and got things going early on a couple of carries by Jerick McKinnon. However, after getting as far as the 29-yard line, Jeff Locke came on to punt, and the Bills wound up with good field position at their own 34 after a 36-yard punt.
The notoriously slow-starting Vikings' defense looked like they had started the Bills drive with a sack, but the officials flagged Anthony Barr for hitting Kyle Orton in the head. . .a pretty questionable call. . .to negate it. The Bills then got a quick pass from Orton to Sammy Watkins for 15 yards, and the Bills were inside the Vikings' 35. After a dropped pass by Sammy Watkins, the Bills went to receiver Chris Hogan, who nearly had the first down but was stripped by the returning Chad Greenway. Robert Blanton jumped on the team's first fumble recovery of the season, and the Bills' drive was snuffed out.
The next drive started with a false start by Matt Kalil. . .because, hey, why not? Of course, that was followed by a 21-yard run by Jerome Felton. . .because, again, why not? (That was the first carry of 20 or more yards the Bills has allowed all season.) The next big play came on a 13-yard catch for Matt Asiata on third down to keep the drive alive. The Vikings then gave up their first sack of the afternoon, as Teddy Bridgewater was taken down by Marcell Dareus for a ten-yard loss. McKinnon got some of it back, but the drive stalled near midfield and the Vikings were forced to punt again. Locke got a much better punt off this time, as the Bills were pinned at their own 4-yard line after a penalty.
It looked like the Vikings were going to force a three-and-out, but a pass to Fred Jackson got the Bills a first down. Mike Zimmer challenged the spot, but the call was upheld and the Vikings lost a time out. However, the Vikings' defense came up big again, as Anthony Barr forced a fumble from Bills' receiver Robert Woods that he recovered at the Buffalo 27-yard line.
After the first play of the ensuing drive, both center John Sullivan and guard Vladimir Ducasse walked off the field with injuries, moving Joe Berger to center and Mike Harris to right guard. We'll have updates on them as we learn more. The Vikings only had seven offensive linemen active for this one, so hopefully it won't be anything serious. The drive wound up stalling after three plays, but Blair Walsh got the Vikings on the board with a 40-yard field goal to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead.
Sullivan was being evaluated for a concussion after he got to the sideline. Not sure what, exactly, was the issue with Ducasse.
The Vikings returned the favor of the opening kickoff to the Bills on the ensuing kickoff, as Jabari Price took C.J. Spiller down at the 7-yard line. The Vikings forced a three-and-out with a stuff of Jackson on 3rd-and-1, and the punt from Colton Schmidt was returned by Marcus Sherels to the Minnesota 40-yard line.
As we move to the second quarter, the Vikings are at their own 45, looking at 1st-and-10 and holding a 3-0 lead thanks to a defensive holding penalty on the final play of the quarter. Stay here with us for the second quarter of play and beyond!