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3 Stats That Stood Out: Vikings at Bills

The Vikings were in the driver's seat for much of Thursday's preseason finale at Buffalo until a stampede in the final four minutes helped the Bills prevail 27-23.

Kyle Sloter got the start and said he felt that he put his best foot forward in several aspects just before Minnesota makes its final decisions for the QB spot or spots after starter Kirk Cousins.

Reserve running backs also delivered another strong performance and were part of a group of young players across the roster who jockeyed for spots.

The Vikings also are trying to formulate their season plan for specialists.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. 8 first downs allowed in final 7:41

The Vikings earned 25 first downs and only allowed 15 to the Bills, but Buffalo was able to get eight of theirs in the final 7:41. Minnesota converted just one first down in the final 9:27.

A scramble by quarterback Tyree Jackson for 13 yards on a fourth-and-9 was followed with a 29-yard gain on a pass from Jackson to Ray-Ray McCloud that set up Buffalo's first of three touchdowns.

The Vikings were unable to convert third-and-1 on their ensuing possession and lost leverage on a punt that was returned 79 yards for a touchdown by Marcus Murphy. There were just 32 seconds between the two trips to the end zone.

After another quick three-and-punt, Buffalo drove 57 yards in 53 seconds for the winning score.

2. 78 rushing yards by a quarterback

Jackson was the game's leading rusher, totaling 78 yards on eight attempts for an average of 9.8 yards per rush.

The damage by his runs varied because of game situations.

He ran for 18 yards and 20 yards in the final minute of the first half, but time expired before Buffalo could attempt a long field goal or try to get closer.

Jackson totaled 39 yards in each half, but his five runs in the second half were more damaging. In addition to the 13-yarder on the fourth-and-9, he scored on a 6-yard run and jump-started Buffalo's final possession with a 15-yard gain.

Aside from Jackson, Buffalo had 42 yards on 13 rushes and didn't have a run of 10-plus yards.

View images as the Vikings take on the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo on Thursday night.

3. Red zone percentage

The Vikings rested their starters and then some on offense and defense, and the reserves played admirably, but there was a considerable difference in red zone percentage, compared to the rest of the preseason on both sides of the ball.

Minnesota entered the game having scored touchdowns on eight of 11 trips inside their opponents' 20-yard line in the first three preseason games.

The Saints, Seahawks and Cardinals were a combined 1-for-7 in the red zone against the Vikings.

On Thursday, Minnesota was just 2-for-5, which included settling for a field goal after starting the drive at the Buffalo 17. The Bills didn't reach the red zone until the fourth quarter but scored touchdowns on both trips.