Posted August 17, 2012 on AP on Fox
Christian Ponder threw a first-quarter touchdown pass in a sharp three-possession appearance and the Minnesota Vikings breezed to a 36-14 victory Friday night over the Buffalo Bills, who saw a decent performance from backup quarterback candidate Vince Young. Young's competitor for the No. 2 spot behind Ryan Fitzpatrick is former Vikings draft pick Tyler Thigpen, who threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by rookie linebacker Audie Cole. On the next play from scrimmage, Cole picked off Brad Smith's pass to the same place on the field and ran that one 30 yards for a score. Rookie Blair Walsh made five of his six field goal attempts for the Vikings (No. 29h in AP Pro32 rankings), who got 64 yards rushing on two scrambles by backup quarterback Joe Webb. Ponder was 10 of 13 for 136 yards and no turnovers. The 29-year-old Young, drafted third overall by Tennessee in 2006, is trying to revive his career again after a number of problems on and off the field. Though the Bills have committed financially to Fitzpatrick, giving him a $59 million contract extension last season, he's had a sporadic career. So the backup job is important. Young went 8 for 14 for 123 yards and no turnovers for the Bills (No. 19 in the AP Pro32), including a 64-yard strike to T.J. Graham to open the second half and set up a short touchdown run by Tashard Choice. The game could not have gone better for Minnesota's first-team offense, which is eagerly waiting the return of running back Adrian Peterson from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Ponder was sacked by Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams on the opening drive, but he was 3 for 3 for 56 yards, including a 33-yard completion to newcomer Jerome Simpson, who jumped over Bills free safety Jairus Byrd. Ponder hit fullback Jerome Felton from 1 yard out for the score and guided the Vikings to the 4 on the following possession. Ponder's last series ended at the Buffalo 31, where Walsh missed his only kick, wide right. Even his incompletions were encouraging for the Vikings. On a flea flicker that didn't fool anybody, Ponder threw the ball safely out of bounds instead of forcing it to a well-covered Simpson. Williams, a Pro Bowl pick in 2010, is coming off surgery on his left foot. The pass rush he applied was one of the few positive signs for Buffalo's starting defense, which gave up a franchise-worst 5,938 yards last year as a 5-2 record in October became 6-10 by the end. Williams and his unrelated namesake two spots down the defensive line, free agent prize Mario Williams, are being counted on to help bring this group back to life. The Vikings didn't punt until the third quarter when the lineup was all backups, and they gained 261 yards by halftime. In five series over two preseason games, the first team offense hasn't punted yet. Ponder is 14 for 22 for 216 yards and no turnovers. After giving up 260 yards rushing in San Francisco last week, the Vikings were better on defense, too. Mistral Raymond, fighting for the starting free safety spot, made consecutive tackles of Fred Jackson - the first one went for a 2-yard loss - to force a punt by the Bills on their first possession. With roughly half starters and half backups in for the Vikings midway through the second quarter, Fitzpatrick and the Bills' first team got on the board with a five-play drive capped by a 31-yard touchdown reception by Donald Jones. Young's pass was the highlight of a drab third quarter, when the crowd became bored enough it conducted an extended, extreme version of the wave as fans began tossing their programs in the air when their turn came to rise. By the end, the pages were ripped into confetti-like pieces. Finally, a warning about thrown objects was issued over the loudspeakers in the fourth quarter. Owning the NFL's longest active streak of 12 straight seasons missing the playoffs, the Bills have a promising offense in tact from last year, perhaps poised to end that skid. Their performance last week against Washington was weak, so this was a little better. Fitzpatrick finished 8 for 11 for 58 yards and no turnovers over four possessions. Jackson rushed five times for 27 yards. --- Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP --- Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Vikings' Ponder exceptionally efficient vs. Bills

MINNEAPOLIS Christian Ponder spent the offseason studying tape of his inconsistent rookie season, intent on using the missed plays a season ago to aid his development entering his first full season as the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback.The work seems to have paid off, and Ponder is still using missed opportunities as a way to get better.Ponder was 10 for 13 passing on Friday...

Christian Ponder has high expectations for Vikings and himself in 2012

2nd year Vikings QB Christian Ponder is already setting high goals for the Vikings in 2012, despite experts saying that this could be another long and painful season for Minnesota. Even though the team went 3-13 last season, Christian Ponder is talking playoffs in 2012. He also has given himself an extremely high goal for completion percentage that elite quarterbacks like Drew Brees...

Impatient Ponder believes Vikings can 'win now'

(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer Christian Ponder is impatient. He only has 10 starts at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, and he's in charge this year of a young, rebuilding squad in a difficult division. Ponder says he wants to win now. He insists the Vikings don't have wait their turn, that they lost enough close...

Young owes loan company $1.7 million

Quarterback Vince Young has been ordered to pay a loan company nearly $1.7 million after missing a payment in late May, shortly after signing with the Buffalo Bills. The ruling against Young was made in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on July 2, according to court documents. Young took out a high-risk loan from Pro Player Funding for $1.877 million during the NFL lockout...

Bills QB Young owes loan company $1.7 million

Quarterback Vince Young has been ordered to pay a loan company nearly $1.7 million after missing a payment in May, shortly after signing with the Buffalo Bills. The ruling against Young was made in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on July 2, according to court documents. TMZ.com first reported the ruling against Young last week. Young took out a loan from Pro Player Funding...

Young's lawyer says loan in dispute

Vince Young's attorney disputes his client owes a loan company nearly $1.7 million, and questions whether the Buffalo Bills quarterback was even aware a loan was taken out in his name. Trey Dolezal says Pro Player Funding never contacted Young, and instead worked with the player's former financial adviser, Ronnie T. Peoples, in issuing a high-interest $1.877 million loan...

Bills QB Young eager to stake claim on backup job

Three months into Vince Young's third chance to prove himself in what's been an up-and-down NFL career, the Buffalo Bills quarterback isn't yet satisfied with his performance or fully comfortable with the offense. He says he feels ''OK,'' but still isn't happy, adding it's nothing that a little more playing time won't fix. Young will get...

3 Golden Rules For Fantasy Football Drafts

Rule #1 – Draft with your head, not your heart You are in the 5thround of your draft and you are a Minnesota Vikings Fan; you see that Christian Ponder is still on the board.   You know deep down it would be too early to take him but you know the guy picking 6 spots away is a Vikings fan too and what if he snags him!?  Even though you see that Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub are...

Kyle Rudolph Building Fine Chemistry with Ponder

According to the Star Tribune, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been frequently targeting tight end Kyle Rudolph in training camp.Fantasy Spin:Rudolph could be this season's breakout player at the position. He's currently a steal as a late-rounder in mock drafts.

Vikings camp finishes on high notes

The Vikings finished training camp with an upbeat final practice, hoping that translates into Friday’s game. Christian Ponder looked sharp, but there were highlights for the defense and special teams, too.

QCS Buffalo Water Cooler: Bills/Vikings Wrap Up

The QCS Buffalo Water Cooler is about to become a regular feature on QCS as it will be published every Wednesday afternoon starting in September. Queen City Sports is starting a new weekly column called the Buffalo Water Cooler. It will consist of the largest topics of each week in Buffalo sports and feature the opinions of multiple QCS writers. This is the 2nd edition to be published...

Fantasy Football 2012: Top 5 Breakout Defenses

@font-face { }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; }table.MsoNormalTable { }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } When all else fails, defense still wins championships…or maybe your fantasy league.  When coming into a new season, there are certain teams in the NFL that we know are going to play well on defense.  The Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburg Steelers...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.