The Minnesota Vikings play their first, of two, road games at an AFC East team in Week 7 against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills and Vikings haven’t played since 2010. The Vikings won the game by more than two scores.
2013 Record: 6-10 (Fourth in the AFC East)
2013 Offensive Statistics: 21.2 points per game, 338.1 total offensive yards per game, 144.2 rushing yards per game, 193.9 passing yards per game, 26 turnovers
2013 Defensive Statistics: 24.3 points allowed per game, 333.4 total offensive yards allowed per game, 128.9 rushing yards allowed per game, 204.4 passing yards allowed per game, 29 turnovers forced, 57 sacks
Head Coach: Doug Marrone (Second season in Buffalo)
Key Returning Offensive Players: TE Scott Chandler, OL Cordy Glenn, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR T.J. Graham, RB Fred Jackson, OL Doug Legursky, QB E.J. Manuel, TE Tony Moeaki, OL Erik Pears, TE Lee Smith, RB C.J. Spiller, OL Kraig Urbik, OL Eric Wood, WR Robert Woods
Key Returning Defensive Players: LB Kiko Alonso, DL Marcell Dareus, DB Stephon Gilmore, DL Jerry Hughes, DL Manny Lawson, LB Leodis McKelvin, DB Nickell Robey, DB Da’Norris Searcy, S Aaron Williams, DL Kyle Williams, DL Mario Williams
Free Agent Additions: RB Anthony Dixon, CB Corey Graham, LB Keith Rivers, LB Brandon Spikes, OT Chris Williams, DL Jarius Wynn
Draft Picks: Round 1, Pick 4 – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson; Round 2, Pick 44 – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama; Round 3, Pick 73 – Preston Brown, LB, Louisville; Round 4, Pick 109 – Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke; Round 5, Pick 153 – Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor; Round 7, Pick 221 – Randell Johnson, LB, Florida Atlantic; Round 7, Pick 237 – Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (FL)
Outlook: The Bills have had a rough go of it lately. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999 and have just one winning season in the that time frame. When making the playoffs (1996, 1998 and 1999), they have lost in the Wild Card Round their last three times.
The Bills finished in the top five in rushing yards for and passing yards allowed. Running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson carried the Bills offense last season. Defensive ends Mario Williams and Manny Lawson combined with defensive backs Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin and Da’Norris Searcy and a terrible run defense contribute to a good passing defensive statistics.
Last season’s leading tackler, middle linebacker Kiko Alonso, is expected to miss all of this season after tearing his ACL while working out in Oregon several weeks ago. His loss hurts a unit that wasn’t very good last season.
The Bills hope that second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel and second-year head coach Doug Marrone can reverse the trends and bring them back to the Super Bowl. However, it is not going to be a quick fix. They need better play from young players that haven’t reached their full potential.