The Buffalo Bills host the Minnesota Vikings on Friday evening in the second week of the preseason. Buffalo will try to build on their 1-0 record, while the Vikings are looking for their first win of the preseason.
The Bills routed the Colts, 44-20, in E.J. Manuel's professional debut. He's likely to get the start again this week with Kevin Kolb still dealing with a sore knee. The Vikings are coming off a 27-13 loss to the Houston Texans. There's no quarterback battle in Minnesota yet, as Matt Cassel and McLeod Bethel-Thompson split playing time behind Christian Ponder.
Meet the Buffalo Bills
Manuel was effective, if limited, in his first preseason game. He completed 16 of 21 passes, but threw for just 107 yards, good for only 5.09 yards per attempt. The biggest bright spot was his two-minute drive at the end of the second quarter, capped off by a touchdown to Dorin Dickerson. He also added 28 yards on three scrambles.
The Bills have a handful of young receivers fighting for playing time, but after one game things still look up in the air. Robert Woods appears to have the edge on a starting job next to Stevie Johnson, but Da'Rick Rogers could challenge for more snaps if he stays out of trouble. Marcus Easley was the leading receiver last week, getting seven catches for 94 yards against the Colts.
Meet the Minnesota Vikings
Cordarrelle Patterson made some nice impressions in his first game, hauling in four catches for 54 yards. He also had a 50-yard kick return to start the game. The rookie could push Jerome Simpson for a starting job if he refines his raw talent.
Sharrif Floyd had a brief scare when he left the game with a knee injury, but an MRI didn't reveal anything and he should be ready to go for Friday night. He will be battling Kevin Williams for snaps this season.
Local Takes: Buffalo Bills
All in all, Alonso was very good in pass coverage. He stuck to Fleener on several occasions, including the huge touchdown breakup. He was beat on the one play-action pass, though. He showed good speed in closing on making the tackle and rushing the quarterback.
The biggest area Alonso needs to work on is shedding blocks and getting through the garbage to the ball carrier. He was swallowed up on several running plays, and needs to avoid the scrum if the tackles get double-teamed back into him. If Dareus is going to take on two guys, Alonso should be free to fill the hole but that wasn't the case in the first quarter on Sunday.
Local Takes: Minnesota Vikings
Ted Glover of Daily Norseman believes the wide receiver group has the biggest roster battle this preseason:
Notes: I think this is the biggest battle in training camp, and will come down to the wire, assuming the Vikings only keep five receivers. If you made me pick the number five guy today, I think I'd go with Webb over Burton, but barely. Burton had a nice catch and run on Friday, but I would argue Webb's 3rd quarter catch was more impressive. He had to correct back from a poorly thrown ball from Thompson, and made a very nice adjustment for an eight yard gain and a first down. Adam Thielen has been making noise in training camp, and is probably number seven, but after that, there hasn't been anyone that has stepped up to win a spot.
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The Bills are slight favorites at home, with the spread ranging from three to 3.5 points, according to Odds Shark. The over/under is set at 43.