PASSING OFFENSE: C — Brett Favre suffered a shoulder injury on his first pass attempt of the game, opening the door for Tarvaris Jackson to get his first extended and meaningful action since the 2008 season. Jackson responded with an up-and-down performance that included two second-quarter touchdown passes but also three interceptions in the game, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Bills cornerback Drayton Florence. Jackson passed for 187 yards and found an instant chemistry with Sidney Rice, who had his best game since returning from hip surgery. Rice, in his third game back, had five receptions for 105 yards and caught both of Jackson's touchdown passes. One of them was a spectacular 31-yard catch in which Rice fought off double coverage to make the play. With the Vikings leading 31-7 at halftime, Jackson threw only five passes in the second half, completing three of them for 17 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus — Coach Leslie Frazier nearly held Adrian Peterson out of the game because of a sprained right ankle but relented in the end. It proved to be a wise choice. Peterson rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns, including a 43-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. It had been five games since Peterson rushed for 100 yards. The Vikings did want to lighten the workload on Peterson, and they did so by giving rookie Toby Gerhart 12 carries, on which he gained 54 yards. That was easily Gerhart's most carries in a game in which Peterson was available for the entire 60 minutes. Gerhart had 22 carries the previous week against Washington, but Peterson left that game in the second quarter because of the ankle injury. The Vikings accumulated a season-high 210 rushing yards against Buffalo despite the fact they were using two backup guards, Ryan Cook and rookie Chris DeGeare. DeGeare was playing for the injured Steve Hutchinson.
PASS DEFENSE: B — The Vikings were credited with only one sack against Ryan Fitzpatrick, but that does not reflect the consistent pressure they got on the Bills quarterback. The Vikings were credited with five hits on Fitzpatrick, including two each by Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. Allen had the only sack and forced a fumble. A 31-7 halftime lead certainly did not hurt matters in terms of enabling the Vikings line to pin its ears back and rush. Buffalo's leading receiver was David Nelson, who had only four receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. Stevie Johnson finished with two receptions for 36 yards.
RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Vikings did not allow their opponent to rush for more than 100 yards for the third consecutive game. Fred Jackson led Buffalo with 42 yards on 11 carries, as Minnesota did not have much trouble handling the Bills' banged-up offensive line. Buffalo's longest run was a 20-yarder by rookie C.J. Spiller. Kevin Williams had his second consecutive solid game, adding two tackles for loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Ryan Longwell made his only field-goal attempt, a 38-yarder to end the first half, and the Vikings had a solid effort in this area. The return of safety Eric Frampton from a hamstring injury helped on the coverage units. The Vikings were without Pro Bowl kickoff returner Percy Harvin, but that didn't have much impact considering the Vikings ended up returning only two of the three kickoffs by Buffalo. Greg Camarillo averaged 8.3 yards on three punt returns, his fourth-highest average of the season.
COACHING: A-minus — Interim coach Leslie Frazier clearly is working very hard to have the interim tag removed from his title. Frazier took another step toward doing so as the Vikings crushed a Buffalo team that has a lousy record (2-10) but has been playing very competitive football since October. The Vikings went down 7-0 when Tarvaris Jackson threw a first-quarter interception that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown by Drayton Florence. Frazier's response when Jackson returned to the sideline? He told him he was going to throw the ball the next time he had the opportunity. Jackson responded by completing his next eight passes for 104 yards with two touchdowns.
Grading the game: Bills
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings try to keep the faithThe Minnesota Vikings are in dire straits with their playoff hopes, but they believe they have the “grit” to win out and make the playoffs.
Viking Update12:12 PM
Zimmer returns to work, expected to travelThe Minnesota Vikings got head coach Mike Zimmer back on Monday.
Viking Update7:20 AM
Just Win (Four), BabyThe Minnesota Vikings need some help to make the playoffs. They didn't get much Sunday as Detroit and Tampa Bay improved their own postseason stock.
Viking Update5:52 AM
Sunday slant: Don’t blame BradfordSam Bradford has been getting criticism from some fans and observers, but a look at numerous analytics, and an overall view of the game, shows just how good he has been without…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 1:57 PM