Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills Preview
Where: New Era Field — Buffalo, NY
When: Thursday, August 10, 2017 – 7:00 PM ET
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Betting on the Minnesota Vikings (view all lines here)
Thursday will be the start of a new era for the Vikings, who, for the first time in over a decade, will no longer have superstar running back Adrian Peterson on their official roster.
Question marks are still around, but there are certain areas that could really generate optimism. Last year’s last-minute plug-in Sam Bradford (replaced the injured Teddy Bridgewater), is one of them. The former number one overall pick had a great statistical campaign in 2016, as he topped the league in completion percentage (71.5) and also tallied an impressive 20-5 touchdown-interception ratio, both of which were the best of his career.
We may see Bradford play in a few snaps on Thursday, with Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke acting as the main quarterbacks.
Another exciting player on the Vikings’ offense is their 2017 first-round pick, Dalvin Cook, who, interestingly enough, will be celebrating his birthday on the day of the game. The rookie, thanks in good part to his notable speed and vision, ended his collegiate career being Florida State’s all-time leading rusher.
The defense, meanwhile, will look to remain as the team’s more influential unit. Plenty of the D’s key players will likely sit the contest out, but the Vikes have team defense that involves a lot of help and aggression from their under-the-radar guys. Remember too that this unit only gave up 12.6 points per game in the first five weeks of the 2016 season.
Betting on the Buffalo Bills (view all lines here)
The Bills are also officially opening a new chapter, as they have turned the page on Rex Ryan’s underwhelming stay with the team (three consecutive seasons with less than 10 wins). Sean McDermott, another defensive-minded coach, is now at the helm.
McDermott provided good guidance during his stops with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers, where he help built well-respected cores. We’ll see if he can do the same in Buffalo, since it’s a group that just decently ranked 14th in points and total yards allowed but has lost several men, mainly Stephen Gilmore, who was the best player on the team.
The offense, likewise, is getting a change. They now have Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator, and like McDermott, he too had quality years with his former teams, particularly with the Houston Texans (2010-2013.) Dennison should be eager in looking to improve Tyrod Taylor’s assertiveness and the Bills’ 30th-ranked passing game in 2016 (189.7 per game).
We should see Taylor get backed by TJ Yates and Nathan Peterman on the QB position for the rest of the preseason, while workhorse LeSean McCoy (1,623 total yards and 14 TDs last season) will likely sit out most of the action.
The Vikings win, 14-13.
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