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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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NFL Friday Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings Preview: Start Time, Odds, Free Pick

Minnesota Vikings Vs. Buffalo Bills 8/17/12: Mitch's Free NFL Pick Against the Spread Free Football Picks

Week 2 of the NFL Preseason continues on Friday night, as the Buffalo Bills travel to take on the Minnesota Vikings The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live locally. Currently the odds for the game have the Minnesota favored by 2.5 points for the game, while the total sits at 37.

Free Analysis: The Minnesota Vikings will hold their first home game of this 2012 preseason with Friday's tussle with the Buffalo Bills, though fans in attendance at Mall of America Field will still have to wait at least another week to catch a glimpse of Adrian Peterson. The powerful running back appears to be making excellent progress in his recovery from a devastating knee injury suffered back on Christmas Eve, however. Peterson was activated from the physically unable to perform list over the weekend and took part in his first padded practice on Tuesday, putting the four-time All-Pro on track to be ready for Minnesota's Sept. 9 regular-season opener. Peterson's eventual return would bring a spark to a Vikings' offense that wasn't crisp in last week's opener at San Francisco. Minnesota mustered just 208 total yards and failed to find the end zone in a 17-6 loss to the defending NFC West champion 49ers, with its quarterbacks combining for a modest 126 net passing yards while completing only 11-of-26 attempts. Starting signal-caller Christian Ponder went 4-for-9 for 80 yards, with most of the damage coming on a 52-yard hookup to wide receiver Stephen Burton on Minnesota's opening drive. The Vikings had greater problems on defense, with the unit being gashed for 260 rushing yards and surrendering a 78-yard scoring run to Niners backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter. Buffalo will be seeking some offensive improvement as well after scoring only a pair of field goals in last week's 7-6 preseason-opening loss to the Robert Griffin-led Washington Redskins, a game in which head coach Chan Gailey called for passes on the Bills' first 16 plays from scrimmage. The Bills didn't come out of the game with any significant new injuries, but center Eric Wood (knee), right tackle Erik Pears (sports hernia) and veteran corner Terrence McGee (knee) have all been ruled out for a second straight week, while Nose tackle Letroy Guion, tight End John Carlson and guard Geoff Schwartz (hernia surgery) will bee on Minnesota's inactive list. These teams will be squaring off in the preseason for the first time since 2002, when the Vikings registered a 24-21 win in Buffalo. Minnesota owns a 6-3 advantage in the all-time exhibition series.

Free Pick: I like the Bills in this one. Both teams showed nothing on offense last week, but Buffalo played great defense, while Minnesota struggled. Minnesota did take the field without three key defenders, however, with defending NFL sack champion Jared Allen, tackle Kevin Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield each getting the night off as a veteran courtesy. All are slated to play in Friday's matchup, but still this was not a great defense last year and it doesn't look lie they will be much improved this year even with their starters in there. Even if they play a bit better than last week, there offense still must go up against a Buffalo defense that is very excited about the coming year. Last week they held what should be an improved Washington offense to 87 rushing yards, 166 passing yards overall and just seven points. Without Peterson and once Ponder is out of there the Vikings just don't have any or enough offense to put up enough points to win this one. Look for Buffalo outright here.

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