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National Football League

NFL Preseason Preview - Buffalo (0-1) at Minnesota (0-1)



By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Vikings will hold their first home game of this 2012 preseason with Friday's tussle with the Buffalo Bills, though fans in attendance at Mall of America Field will still have to wait at least another week to catch a glimpse of Adrian Peterson.

The powerful running back appears to be making excellent progress in his recovery from a devastating knee injury suffered back on Christmas Eve, however. Peterson was activated from the physically unable to perform list over the weekend and took part in his first padded practice on Tuesday, putting the four-time All-Pro on track to be ready for Minnesota's Sept. 9 regular-season opener.

Peterson, who tore both the ACL and MCL in a Week 16 win at Washington last December, won't participate in Friday's contest, but is being targeted to receive some work in the Vikings' Aug. 24 preseason tilt with San Diego barring any setbacks.

"If we could get him in a game and let him get a little bit of the taste of NFL action and a live situation, that would be good," Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier remarked on Sunday. "But we'll see."

Peterson's eventual return would bring a spark to a Vikings' offense that wasn't crisp in last week's opener at San Francisco. Minnesota mustered just 208 total yards and failed to find the end zone in a 17-6 loss to the defending NFC West champion 49ers, with its quarterbacks combining for a modest 126 net passing yards while completing only 11-of-26 attempts.

Starting signal-caller Christian Ponder went 4-for-9 for 80 yards, with most of the damage coming on a 52-yard hookup to wide receiver Stephen Burton on Minnesota's opening drive. Both of the 2011 first-round pick's two series of action resulted in field goals by rookie kicker Blair Walsh, however.

The Vikings had greater problems on defense, with the unit being gashed for 260 rushing yards and surrendering a 78-yard scoring run to Niners backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter. Minnesota did take the field without three key starters, however, with defending NFL sack champion Jared Allen, tackle Kevin Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield each getting the night off as a veteran courtesy.

All are slated to play in Friday's matchup along with dynamic wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was rested as well against the 49ers. Nose tackle Letroy Guion won't be suiting up, though, after spraining his knee in Friday's loss.

Tight end John Carlson (knee) and guard Geoff Schwartz (hernia surgery) will also be joining Peterson and Guion on this week's inactive list.

Buffalo will be seeking some offensive improvement as well after scoring only a pair of field goals in last week's 7-6 preseason-opening loss to the Robert Griffin-led Washington Redskins, a game in which head coach Chan Gailey called for passes on the Bills' first 16 plays from scrimmage.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 6-of-14 for 61 yards in leading Buffalo's first four possessions, while neither Tyler Thigpen nor offseason addition Vince Young seemed to gain much of an upper hand in their battle for the No. 2 signal-caller job. Thigpen completed only 3-of-8 throws for 38 yards and was intercepted once. Young did rush for a team-best 37 yards on five scrambles, but was just 5-of-12 passing for 50 yards and was sacked three times.

The Bills didn't come out of the game with any significant new injuries, but center Eric Wood (knee), right tackle Erik Pears (sports hernia) and veteran corner Terrence McGee (knee) have all been ruled out for a second straight week. Slot receiver David Nelson, who sat out against Washington with a knee strain, is questionable to return for this one.

These teams will be squaring off in the preseason for the first time since 2002, when the Vikings registered a 24-21 win in Buffalo. Minnesota owns a 6-3 advantage in the all-time exhibition series.

The Bills and Vikings did face one another at the Metrodome during the 2010 regular season, with Minnesota rolling to a 38-14 rout.

08/15 13:32:24 ET


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