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Bills Lose To Vikings

Drew Bledsoe The Bills fell to 0-2 in the preseason as the offense got the running game going and Drew Bledsoe played well despite struggling in the red zone. The defense continued its struggle but helped their situation with the signing of Shawn Price and the possible signing of Chidi Ahanotu. Here is a look at the week in review with our take on the issues:

The Vikings defeated the Bills 24-21 on Friday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills offense moved the ball well but couldn't find the end zone. This time they did more damage on the ground as they showed a commitment to run as Travis Henry ripped off two big runs enroute to 50 yards on 7 carries. Bledsoe was 6 for 8 for 70 yards but couldn't find the end zone on two trips deep in Vikings territory. The defense was run over in the first half by the Vikings first string offensive unit. Michael Bennett had some big runs and Duante Culpepper beat the young defense through the air and with his feet. The Vikings finished the first half with 293 yards offensively. The backups played better holding Minnesota to two first downs in the second half. Our Take: Helping themselves in this game were Henry, Bledsoe, Mike Hollis with two field goals and Travis Brown. He played most of the second half and led the team on a 20 play drive that fell seven yards short from the winning score. Hurting themselves was backups Marc Samuel who missed an extra point, David Priestley who botched a snap in his only possession, and Shawn Bryson who finished with negative one yard on four carries.

The Bills tried to help the beleaguered defensive line by re-signing Shawn Price on Friday and looking to sign Chidi Ahanotu. Price's signing comes as no surprise as he rehabbed his injured knee at the Bills facilities and Tom Donahoe said he would be re-signed when he passed a physical. He practiced on Sunday for the first time and showed some explosion getting to the quarterback on successive plays. He was a bit winded though and only played four successive plays at a time. The team has also offered a contract to former Bucaneer and Ram Chidi Ahanotu. He's a veteran run stopper end and the club may have him under contract shortly. To make room for these two players the Bills cut Jykine Bradley and Delrico Fletcher. Our Take: Price and Ahanotu add veteran leadership to the team. Price moves right in to the starting under tackle spot and Ahanotu would move in next to him at left end if he signs. Signing two professional veterans at close to league minimum is a no brainer. The two released players were the two last signed before camp, so they had no chance of making the club anyway.

The Bills escaped their first two preseason games injury free but the same can't be said for the practice sessions. On Monday the Bills lost two left tackles Jonas Jennings suffered a sprained ankle and was getting around with crutches and a walking boot his return is questionable at this time. Marcus Price was knocked unconscious on a play and left with a concussion but returned in time to start the preseason game. Leif Larsen was the third player taken off the field on a cart on Monday as he injured his groin. Ruben Brown missed the Vikings game but should return this week. The Bills also officially ended Brandon Spoon's season this week by placing him on injured reserve. Our Take: The longer Larsen is out the worse his chances are of making the team. It appears that Jennings injury is worse than the club is letting on, if he isn't ready for the opener the Bills may want to consider moving Trey Teague back to tackle although they say that isn't an option right now. For constant updates on the Bills injury situation go to our Injury Page.

Rumors were swirling this week that the Bills have asked Jerry Ostroski to take a $1 Million pay cut to stay on the team. His cap figure is $1.75 Million at this point, he seemed surprised when asked about the rumor and it was denied by the Bills and Ostroski. Our Take: They can deny it all they want, if Ostroski is to be on the Bills this year it will be at a reduced salary. The Bills are up against the cap and could use that extra $1 Million to have in case of emergencies.

A good article in today's Buffalo News talks about how good the fan interest in the team has been. The team expects to come close to their goal of 40,000 season tickets. That would be the highest total since 1996, Jim Kelly's last year. Merchandising wise, the team has gone from near the bottom of the league to near the top. That is helped by the new uniforms and the arrival of Drew Bledsoe. They also hope to surpass the training camp record of 122,000 fans set two years ago. Our Take: This is good news for the long term future of the club in Buffalo with the buyout clause in the lease kicking in at the end of next year. Hopefully the interest will translate into full houses at the Ralph this year.

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