As we do every week, it’s time to take a look back at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and the team that they’re facing off against. This week, the opponent is the Buffalo Bills, and as you’d expect with an AFC opponent, the history between these two teams is not a terribly long one. The teams have only met 13 times over the years, and this will be the first matchup between the two sides since 2014.
So, let’s get to it, with the numbers (as always) brought to you by the folks from Pro Football Reference.
Total regular season games between the Bills and the Vikings: 13
All-time record: Vikings, 8-5
Total Vikings’ points scored, head-to-head: 314 (24.2 points/game)
Total Bills’ points scored, head-to-head: 222 (17.1 points/game)
Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs Bills: 3 games, twice, most recently from 11 December 1994 to 22 October 2000
Longest Bills’ winning streak vs Vikings: 2 games, 15 September 2002 to 1 October 2006
Most recent Vikings’ home win in series: 5 December 2010 (final score 38-14)
Most recent Bills’ road win in series: 15 September 2002 (final score 44-38)
Biggest Vikings’ home win in series: 24 points, 5 December 2010 (final score 38-14)
Biggest Bills’ road win in series: 6 points, 15 September 2002 (final score 44-38)
Current streak: Bills, 1 win
Of the 13 matchups between these two teams over the years, only five of them have taken place in Minnesota, with eight of them taking place in upstate New York (including five in a row from 1982 to 1997). The Vikings are 4-1 all-time against the Bills in Minnesota, and 4-4 against them in trips to Buffalo.
The only time that the Bills found victory in the Twin Cities came back in 2002. . .and, strangely, was another game that featured trouble for a Vikings’ kicker. Doug Brien missed not one, but two extra points (back when the extra point was being kicked from about the 10-yard line), and it appeared that the Vikings had done enough to win when Moe Williams found the end zone with less than 30 seconds left to give the Vikings a three-point lead. However, Drew Bledsoe got his team into position for Mike Hollis to connect on a 54-yard field goal at the gun of regulation, tying the game at 38-38. Bledsoe then found Peerless Price for a 48-yard score in the extra session, giving the Bills a 44-38 overtime win.
The Bills’ most recent trip to Minnesota was a historic one for two reasons. First off, it was the final game at the Metrodome under the old roof before it collapsed the next week before a game against the New York Giants. In addition, it also marked the end of Brett Favre’s remarkable starts streak, as linebacker Arthur Moats hit Favre in the first quarter of the game and put him out for the rest of the contest. He did not start the next week against the Giants, and the streak came to an end at 297. Tarvaris Jackson came in to relieve Favre, and after throwing a pick-six early, the Vikings’ offense went on a tear. Minnesota ran off 38 unanswered points, including three Adrian Peterson touchdowns and a pair of touchdown throws from Jackson to Sidney Rice. Buffalo did manage a score at the end, but it was too little, too late as Minnesota cruised to a 38-14 victory.
The last game between these two teams, up in Buffalo in 2014, was a thriller. It was a defensive struggle between the two sides, with the Vikings taking a 13-10 lead into halftime courtesy of a 55-yard field goal from Blair Walsh. After a scoreless third quarter, Walsh added another field goal in the fourth to make the Minnesota lead 16-10, but the immortal Kyle Orton refused to let the Bills lose on that afternoon. In the final three minutes of the game, Orton marched his team down the field, and with just one second left on the clock connected with Sammy Watkins on a two-yard touchdown pass, their second scoring connection of the game. The extra point put the Bills ahead 17-16, and that’s how it ended in Buffalo that afternoon.
Here’s hoping that the Vikings can prolong the Bills’ misery in Minnesota this coming Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.