EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings and Bills will take and leave the field through the same tunnel at Highmark Stadium.
First-year Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips has been there and done that plenty of times, having suited up for 45 regular-season games from 2018-21.
"I've never walked down the left side of our tunnel where it's the visitors' side, and I've never gone to the visitors' locker room," Phillips said Thursday. "And then I'm conflicted when I go out for my pre-game thing, I go out there really early, I have my little spot that I always sit on on the Bills bench. I don't think I can go over there this time, so I'll have to find a spot on the other side.
"It's going to be interesting," he added. "Obviously, I'll be fired up for so many reasons because it's back where I was drafted, where it was home for me for a while but also the Super Bowl favorite team and playing against an opponent like that and hopefully a healthy Josh Allen."
Allen is dealing with a right elbow injury he suffered last Sunday against the Jets. The Bills will announce his game status on Sunday. If he can't go, Minnesota will face former QB Case Keenum, in addition to former receiver Stefon Diggs as the Vikings try to end a long losing streak in Buffalo, a rare regular-season host.
Phillips was a year-and-a-half old the last time the Vikings defeated the Bills in Buffalo (Aug. 31, 1997).
Cris Carter caught two scores from Brad Johnson, and Robert Smith racked up 169 yards on 16 carries as Minnesota prevailed 34-13 in the game that occurred before 24 players on Minnesota's 53-man roster were born.
Here are all the ways to catch the action, a synopsis of the series history and a key topic addressed this week by Vikings Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips, Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell and Special Teams Coordinator Matt Daniels.
FOX (KMSP in the Twin Cities)
Kickoff: Noon (CT)
Play-by-Play: Joe Davis
Analyst: Daryl Johnston
Sideline reporters: Pam Oliver
Fans in the red areas on the map below from 506sports.com will be able to watch the game on their iOS mobile devices with the Vikings app or Vikings mobile site (Safari browser only).
Radio: KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK (1130-AM) and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Radio Pregame Show: Hosted by Mike Mussman (10 a.m.)
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporter: Ben Leber
New this year: People in Minnesota will be able to listen to the Vikings Radio Network broadcast through the iHeartRadio app on their smart devices.
SPANISH RADIO BROADCAST
New for the 2022 season, the Vikings will air a Spanish broadcast of all games.
You can hear the Vikings on Tico Sports at WREY "El Rey" 94.9-FM and 630-AM in the Twin Cities and on Tico-Sports.com, elrey949fm.com and vikings.com. Additionally, the stream will be available as part of NFL+.
Play-by-Play: Gabriel Rios
Color commentary: Isaias Nunez Zendejas
Play-by-Play: Josh Appel
Analyst: James White
Minnesota: SiriusXM 135 or 383 and the SXM App
Buffalo: SiriusXM 82 or 227 and the SXM App
VIKINGS MOBILE APP
Keep the Vikings nearby wherever you go with the Minnesota Vikings mobile app. A source for news and exclusive features, the app also will stream video broadcasts of games for people in the market/broadcast area of each game.
Click here for the full bevy of options that include over-the-air, cable, satellite, over-the-top and streaming methods.
NFL+ AND NFL+ PREMIUM
Start your free trial of NFL+ today to watch Vikings preseason games live or on-demand.
NFL+ and NFL+ Premium provide all the action when you are on the go. It is available in the NFL app and at NFL.com/plus.
NFL+ is available for $4.99/month or $39.99/year and offers the following:
· Live out-of-market preseason games across devices
· Live local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your phone or tablet
· Live game audio (home, away & national calls) for every game of the season
· NFL library programming on-demand, ad-free
NFL+ Premium is available for $9.99/month or $79.99/year and offers all of the NFL+ features and the following:
· Full-game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
· Coaches film (ad-free)
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bills.
Minnesota is 8-6 all-time in 14 games against Buffalo.
Phillips on tight end T.J. Hockenson's debut:
Tight end T.J. Hockenson's debut for Minnesota went well, with the recent acquisition catching nine passes for 70 yards on nine targets.
"We were really impressed by how he broke the huddle, confidence, just getting to his alignment," Phillips said. "There wasn't a lot of turning around and looking at his position coach and saying, 'What have I got?' Or asking guys next to him. It's really a credit to him, but I couldn't have said he was going to be 9-for-9 targets for 70 yards in his first showing. We did feel confident about playing him a good amount and what he was able to do."
Donatell on Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth, Jr.:
The Vikings had to replace cornerback Cameron Dantzler, Sr., on the fly in Washington because the third-year pro suffered an ankle injury against the Commanders.
Rookie fourth-round pick Akayleb Evans answered the bell and performed well after relieving Dantzler. With Dantzler not practicing for a second consecutive day, Donatell was asked about Evans and 2022 second-round selection Andrew Booth, Jr.
"We talk about our processes. [Head Coach] Kevin [O'Connell] and [General Manager] Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah], we have after-practice time where guys will get extra attention, whether it's meeting time or time on the field, and you keep grooming that process, and when guys have to step up, they're ready to go," Donatell said. "That's true with all our young players, and we'll continue to do that. … [Evans] brings great length. He has speed, he's a focused young player, has listened to the vets and is progressing. "
Donatell said Booth will be ready to go if needed.
"He's been nicked a little more, so that puts you behind some, but every player is different," Donatell said. "Some guys are more steep with their growth and some are a little more gradual, but in the end, time will play out and show you what quality of players both of those guys will be."
Daniels on the upcoming challenges in Buffalo:
The Vikings will face a strong challenge from the Bills special teams groups — and possibly the elements.
"Overall, looking at this game, going against a contender, a really good football team I have a lot of respect for from a special teams unit standpoint," Daniels said. "Obviously they just acquired Nyheim Hines, an electric punt returner who does a really good job of getting vertical with the football, so guys are really champing at the bit and looking forward to this opportunity to compete against a really high-level, elite unit in Buffalo."
Hines made his Bills debut in Week 9 after he was traded by the Colts. He took his only punt return for 18 yards Sunday.
Vikings specialists worked outside Wednesday, and the whole team practiced outside Thursday.
"I think the biggest thing is, 'How do we want to handle the winds, especially when we start talking about field position when we start getting into the plus-50 territory and communicating with [O'Connell]," Daniels said. " 'Are we in four-down territory? What's the line for [kicker] Greg [Joseph]? Will we end up punting?' I think the biggest thing is how we drop the football, so for [punter Ryan Wright], we have to determine, 'Are we going to adjust the angle of how he's going to be dropping the football? Is it going to be a traditional look or is he going to drop it more end over end?' That way, when he is dropping it, the ball isn't moving too much based of the wind. That's going to be the biggest thing there, and obviously, handling the football. [Long snapper Andrew DePaola] has got to do a good job of snapping it back there with velocity. That way the wind isn't moving the spot a little too much and Mr. Wright has got to do a good job of securing it for G-Money (Joseph) to kick it through the uprights."