Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) and defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Rookie EJ Manuel took another step toward securing the Buffalo Bills' starting job, and the defense stuffed the Minnesota Vikings in a 20-16 preseason victory Friday night.
"They had some exotic personnel and different schemes and stuff," said Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. "It was a little different and sometimes a little hard to identify, but it was good for us to see a defense like that."
Ponder finished the game 5 for 12 with 53 yards passing. He was sacked twice.
The Vikings (0-2) struggled on offense without their star player, Adrian Peterson, who continues to be rested through the preseason. They combined for 74 yards offense and four first downs in the first half.
"The only thing I was saying to myself when that was happening is, 'I am glad it's the preseason. You know, let's get this out of the way now,'" Frazier said. "We definitely don't want to be doing this in September."
Manuel went 10 of 12 for 92 yards and a touchdown through three series in the second half. He out-shined veteran Kevin Kolb, who went 13 of 21 for 111 yards and an interception in the first half.
Jerry Hughes had two sacks starting in place of defensive end Mario Williams (soreness). Backup linebacker Jamie Blatnick recovered a fumble for a touchdown for Buffalo (2-0).
"We're really concentrating on our team and what we need to be able to do," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "This may sound strange in some ways, but some things I saw tonight will help our football team in the future. I saw some things that I needed to see about our team."
In the first half, the Vikings held the Bills offense to a pair of field goals, and Minnesota made the score respectable with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Despite the discouraging results at times, the head coach remains optimistic.
"We'll look at the tape and figure out what we got to do to improve in those areas ... I gotta believe we'll get better from watching this tape," Frazier said.
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