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Buffalo Bills Vs Minnesota Vikings: Watch Live Stream Online; Preview

By Melissa Siegel - Posted: 08/17/12 09:52PM UTC
Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the first-team Buffalo Bills offense will hope to improve on last week's performance tonight against the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo: REUTERS / Mark Blinch)

The Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings will do battle in week two of the preseason tonight. The game will be broadcast locally at 8 p.m. ET and will also be streamed live online here.

Buffalo Bills fans are optimistic about what should be one of team's best seasons in several years. The team has several playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, namely wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running backs CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. Yet the first-team unit struggled to put anything together in the first preseason game, scoring just one field goal that came

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Neither Spiller nor Jackson had any rushing attempts last week, but the position the Bills' coaches are really keeping an eye on is wide receiver. Donald Jones began last season as the No. 2 wide receiver but only appeared in eight games because of injuries. David Nelson performed well as the starter in his absence but seems destined to stay in the slot, according to The Buffalo News. Jones is currently listed as the second starter, but Derek Hagan, T.J. Graham, and Ruvell Martin are all fighting for a larger role in the offense as well.

Not helping matters was the poor performance of the top three quarterbacks last week against the Washington Redskins. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just six of 14 passes, while Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen, who are fighting for the backup QB job, went a combined 8/20. The latter two will hope to better distinguish themselves against the Vikings.

The Bills' defense did a better job of living up to expectations, allowing just one touchdown to the new-look Redskins offense led by Robert Griffin III.  Prized free agent signee Mario Williams did not appear on the stat sheet, and while his job is clearly safe, he will look to show why he got a $100-million contract in the offseason.

The Vikings, meanwhile, are in more of a rebuilding mode after finishing last season 3-13. Second-year player Christian Ponder enters the year as the unquestioned starter after taking over for an old an ineffective Donovan McNabb halfway through last year. He exhibited the traditional rookie growing pains, though he looked okay last week against a tough San Francisco defense.

Fans are eager to see star running back Adrian Peterson, who this week was taken off of the physically unable to perform list. According to USA Today, however, he will not play tonight.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin will play, however, after being rested in last  week's game. But with fellow starter Jerome Simpson suspended for the first three games, the backups will need to show tonight that they have what it takes to take his place at the start of the season. Veterans Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu were expected to be a key part of the receiver rotation, but noted that the former has been struggling in camp. So promising youngsters like Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton could use this game to show that they deserve more playing time.

On defense the Vikings have nowhere to go but up after a historically bad performance last year. According to the Star-Tribune, the team allowed a 107.6 quarterback rating, the second-worst in NFL history behind the 0-16 Detroit Lions.  Veterans Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook each return from injury this year, which should help. The two missed a total of 21 games last year because of injury, according to the Star-Tribune.

But the team's run defense looked almost as bad last week. The Vikings gave up over 250 yards rushing last week, including a 78-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Bills post a potentially-explosive running game as well (if they decide to use it this week), so the unit as a whole will have to come together to try to improve on last week's performance.

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