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3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings at Bills

Posted Aug 11, 2017

The Vikings opened their preseason slate with a 17-10 victory over the Bills.

The road game presented an opportunity for Minnesota’s rookies to make their NFL debuts and for newcomers through free agency to wear Purple for the first time.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said there are definitely areas where his team can improve over the course of the next three preseason games as it prepares to host the Saints on Sept. 11 on Monday Night Football.

Winning on the road in the NFL is never easy, but there were three areas in which the Vikings excelled that can be helpful in the quest for wins away from home.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. Limited penalties

Despite no one playing in a game since Week 17 (Jan. 1), the Vikings played a fairly clean game in terms of penalties.

They were assessed just three infractions for a total of 36 yards.

Buffalo, meanwhile was assessed 10 penalties for a total of 106 yards. The Bills offense, defense and special teams units each committed fouls.

A holding call on the Bills first run play stymied Buffalo’s first possession.

2. Advantageous field position

The Vikings won the field position battle throughout the game, but particularly in the first half.

After Minnesota’s first drive stalled, Taylor Symmank was able to flip field position with a 60-yard punt that was downed at Buffalo’s 6-yard line.

The Bills were crisp on their first three pass plays, gaining 30 yards on three tosses from Tyrod Taylor to Sammy Watkins, but were unable to cross into Vikings territory.

Minnesota pinned Buffalo inside its own 20 to start four of six possessions in the first half. The Vikings started each of their six possessions in the first half at the 20 or better.

3. Controlling the clock in the third quarter

After going into the locker room tied at 3, Minnesota gained momentum in the third quarter with drives that covered 69 and 71 yards and consumed 10:54 off the clock.

The Vikings ran 21 plays in the third quarter and capped both of their possessions with touchdowns to build a 17-3 edge.

Minnesota’s defense limited Buffalo to 29 net yards on nine offensive plays in the third period to take control of the game.

The Vikings offense, however, struggled, in the fourth quarter, failing to gain one first down. Minnesota will want to be better at salting away the clock with a late lead, particularly on the road.