We’re less than 48 hours away from the Minnesota Vikings’ second home game of the season, as they will host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings and Bills haven’t played since 2014, and the Bills haven’t come to Minnesota since 2010 when they played in the last game at the Dome before the roof caved in. So, you know, that’s their fault.
(Okay, not really.)
As is our wont, we got an opportunity to sit down and exchange some questions with the folks from Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation’s home for everything relating to the Buffalo Bills. I exchanged these questions with Corey Giacovelli, and you can see the answers I had to the questions he sent me over at BR by clicking this link here. Here are the questions that I sent to Corey, along with his responses. Enjoy!
1) Last year, the Bills snapped the longest post-season drought in the league, making it back to the playoffs after a 17-year absence. This year. . .well, with all due respect to you guys, they’ve looked bad thus far. How did it drop off so quickly for you guys?
I don’t think the drop off was that severe looking at things. We are bad yes, but we are not the only 0-2 team in the league so we are not the only team in the boat. Last, season we were better but there was also a lot of luck involved whether it was forcing a controversial fumble against Matt Ryan that went for a touchdown or the Bengals completing the miracle to get us into the playoffs, we are not that different skill wise from last year’s team. The difference so far this season is not getting those turnovers and generating them into points. Last week against the Chargers it was bad early but the team legitimately had a chance for a comeback in the second half. Unfortunately they could not get those 50-50 fumbles that were on the turf.
2) One of the strangest stories of last season was the Bills’ treatment of quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor appeared to be a relatively solid quarterback, but the Bills seemed reluctant to commit to him, and now he’s in Cleveland. Can you provide any insight as to why that whole thing happened?
The Tyrod situation was always interesting and one of the more unique QB situations in the league. The problem that Tyrod had was he was producing average stat lines which was good because he was never turning the ball over but most of the times fans were frustrated with the lack of points the offense was creating or the lack of chances he was taking in the passing game. Combine that with a new coach and general manager and you have a team that wanted their QB of the future that they drafted themselves. Tyrod was a great guy and player on and off the field and the team was always average with him under center. The Bills are looking to be better than average and decided to give him a fresh start in Cleveland.
3) With Taylor officially out of the picture, the Bills initially started with Nathan Peterman at quarterback, but quickly turned to first-round pick Josh Allen. In Allen’s first start, what did you see that encouraged you and what did you see that worries you going into Sunday?
Allen could be considered one of the most athletic players out of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft but he also had the most room to grow. Fans were uncertain of that at first because of course you want to win now but after watching him in the preseason and so far in the regular season, I think the fans are happy to wait. The guy has a cannon and showed it at times so far and he has that leadership quality that you look for in a QB. During the Chargers game you saw him trying to pump up the defense and the guys responded to that. He still has to grow with his pocket awareness and scanning the field because he missed a few open receivers but he will get there. We are not expecting miracles out of him this season.
4) Do you think that Sean McDermott’s job is in any sort of jeopardy, or did the playoff appearance last year generate enough goodwill to help him weather what looks like it could be a rough year in Buffalo?
There is no chance that McDermott’s job is in jeopardy, the team and the city loves him because of the way he does things. When he took the job last year he was very definitive in saying that this was a 2-3 year rebuild project and we are only in the middle of year two. Come next year is when the games really matter when it comes to his coaching career. If you remember, last year we were supposed to be just as bad and it was his first year as a head coach. What did he do? He ended up rallying a team to buy into the process and led them to the playoff breaking the drought. McDermott will be in Buffalo for a long time and the fans would not have it any other way.
5) Give us one player on each side of the ball that Vikings fans might not immediately know that you think could make a difference for the Bills on Sunday.
On offense watch out for running back Marcus Murphy. With LeSean McCoy dealing with a rib injury and possibly off the field situations, Murphy should get a few carries. This guy ran hard in the preseason and can make guys miss in the running game and he can even catch passes. Do not be surprised if at the end of the game Murphy has at least 50 yards on the ground. On defense it is hard to say because there has not been a lot of good but they are getting better. Keep an eye on Eddie Yarbrough, the defensive tackle plays hard and although he doesn’t have all the stats at the end of the day he can be a disruption in the backfield.
Thanks again to Corey for taking the time to answer our questions about this week’s game. We’ll have more about Sunday’s contest as we get closer to kickoff.