The Vikings will play each team in the AFC East in 2018, with their first opponent from that division being the Buffalo Bills this week at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here are five Vikings-Bill Storylines to watch this week.
1. Veteran Dan Bailey looks to stabilize Vikings kicking position
Often times when a new player joins a team during the season, it takes a couple weeks before he is asked to step into the lineup and contribute. That will not be the case with one of the Vikings acquisitions this week. Eight-year veteran Dan Bailey was signed on Tuesday and, as the team's only place kicker, will be tasked with handling extra point and field goal duties, at a minimum; he may also handle kickoff duties, although that could also go to Matt Wile. Bailey was the Dallas Cowboys kicker for six-plus seasons and in that time he made 88.2% of his field goal tries and 97 of 99 extra point tries since it was moved to a 33-yard attempt in 2015.
2. Vikings RBs poised to get on track
The Vikings offense ranks fifth in yards and has averaged 26.5 points per game through two weeks. Running backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray have been important factors in both the running and passing game, but their numbers aren't as gaudy as teammates Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen. This week against the Bills, Cook and Murray are in position to have their production match their influence. The Bills, who are tied for most rushing touchdowns allowed (four) this season, have given up 259 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns to running backs through the first two games.
3. LeSean McCoy's status described as "day-to-day"
Staying on the topic of running backs, one of Buffalo's best players is their starting running back – LeSean McCoy. He is a dual threat back and one who can score any time he touches the ball. Right now, he's hoping nothing touches him because he's dealing with an injury to his ribs. The injury occurred in the 3rd quarter of last week's game against the Chargers and it has McCoy listed as day-to-day and likely questionable for Sunday's game in Minnesota. If McCoy is unable to play, the Bills lose a major offensive weapon in a game where they'll play one of the NFL's best defenses.
4. Bills adjust defensive play calling process
After his team surrendered 284 yards and 28 points in the first half on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott assumed defensive play calling duties for the second half. McDermott said the play calling process is something the team would evaluate this week, which means the Vikings will also have to consider the difference between what Buffalo did defensively in the first six quarters of the season compared to what they did in the final two quarters of last week's game.
5. Dennis Green Ring of Honor
Former head coach Dennis Green will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony on Sunday. Green, who was the fifth head coach in team history and amassed the second-most wins behind only Bud Grant, will become the 24th member of the Ring of Honor. The Vikings made the playoffs eight times in Green's 10 seasons at the helm and had only one losing season during his tenure. Green was the third black head coach in NFL history and is known for initiating Community Tuesdays, which has become a staple for NFL clubs in their community outreach efforts even to this day. Along with honoring Green, the Vikings will also be hosting Vikings Legends Weekend in the days leading up to Sunday's game.