Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 key reasons the Vikings will win.” This week the Vikings hope to shake off another disappointment as they face the Buffalo Bills.
For 5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried, click here.
5. Vikings looking to create more turnovers
The Vikings are 27th in the NFL in turnover margin with a -5. While they are in the middle of the league with five interceptions, they are the only team in the NFL that hasn't recovered a fumble.
Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards told reporters the team has focused on trying to create more turnovers.
"We feel like with everybody running to the ball – playing physical, tough defense – that we'll get the ball out. That's one thing we're preaching is the first person secures the tackle then the next guy comes in. We've had a couple situations during the course of the year where guys have tried to tackle the ball as opposed to tackling a person. We miss the tackle and it ends up being a big play."
Getting more turnovers doesn't mean taking more risks though.
"I don't think turnovers are about taking chances," Vikings safety Harrison Smith told 1500 ESPN. "I think you do your job and you get [the opposing offense] in situations where they need to throw the ball or you can get a rush on them. You create turnovers that way. Team tackling, maybe pop a ball out that wouldn't come out if that last guy didn't get to the pile and strip it."
4. More balance to the running game
Last week they featured McKinnon more against Detroit and it didn't work as the Vikings put up just 69 yards on the ground against the Lions.
The task won't be easier this week against Buffalo and the league's top run defense.
According to ESPN, the Vikings have run for 534 yards in the five games Peterson's missed, but 241 of those yards came in a 41-28 win over Atlanta with strong efforts from both Asiata and McKinnon.
"You're not going to have the dynamic, explosive, spectacular runs and plays that you get out of a player of [Peterson's] magnitude," said Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson. "We definitely miss that element, but we've moved on to a certain degree."
In their four losses this season the Vikings ran for 54, 59, 111 and 69 yards.
3. Bridgewater won't repeat mistakes
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he doesn't think Teddy Bridgewater's release was the problem with the rookie quarterback last week.
Bridgewater was sacked eight times and threw three interceptions in the defeat.
Turner said it's a growing process for a young quarterback.
"Unfortunately we put together a nice drive and unfortunately he didn't see the safety sit, the safety had chased the inside receiver and he didn't see it and he threw an interception," said Turner. "After you do that you can be a little bit too careful, and I think there were a number of throws it wasn't about his release it was about anticipation and trusting what you see."
Bridgewater wants to learn from his mistakes and doesn't want to make the same one twice.
Wednesday he accepted blame for the struggles and said he needs to play faster.
2. Greenway hoping to return
After missing three straight games because of broken ribs, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was listed as a full participant in practice for the second straight day on Thursday.
It was another sign the Vikings leading tackler for the last six seasons will be able to get back on the field on Sunday.
Zimmer wasn't so quick to give him the green light just yet, though.
"Yesterday we were in pads and he felt pretty good," Zimmer told the Star Tribune. "We've done another test to see where he's at hitting-wise and he looks pretty good, so I'm going to have to trust him with what he says."
Greenway broke the wins during the Vikings loss to the Patriots in week two. The three games he missed snapped a streak of 90 straight starts for the Vikings linebacker.
1. Patterson and Jennings will answer the challenge
The Vikings receivers have taken a lot of criticism this week after the loss to Detroit.
Zimmer met the receivers as they came onto the practice field on Thursday. He offered encouragement and critiques as they worked on drills designed to help create more separation between them on the Bills' defenders.
"We've got to get into the route, we've got to win in transition, we've got to get out of the route and extend for the ball," Zimmer said to reporters after practice.
The message was received loud and clear by the group, who huddled together for a receivers-only gathering afterwards.
"We feel like that all the time," Patterson said. "As receivers we talk to each other and we let this whole offense down. It's our job to step up this weekend and just show everybody what this offense is about."
Patterson has been a full participant in practice and said his hip is feeling better. He added "this week, we feel, is the week for us."