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Points after: Bills 20, Vikings 16

By Tim Graham

Quick highlights from the Buffalo Bills' victory over the Minnesota Vikings tonight in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

What it means: Kevin Kolb wasted a precious opportunity to impress the coaching staff. He started the game and completed just three of his first eight passes with an interception. Kolb finished 13 of 21 for 111 yards and no touchdowns.

Bills star of the game: Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, starting for Mario Williams on the right side, sacked Christian Ponder on the game's first snap and added a strip-sack of Matt Cassel in the second quarter.

Stat line of the day: Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel completed all six of his passes for 44 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to Brad Smith, on his first drive to start the second half.

Dirty laundry: Bills coach Doug Marrone was upset when his players committed nine penalties for 74 yards in their first preseason game. The Bills had nine penalties by halftime tonight and finished with 14 accepted for 106 yards.

Kicker duel: Sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins again took the first kicks. Hopkins made field goals from 39 and 35 yards. Rian Lindell didn't get any attempts in the second half and kicked off once. ... Punter Shawn Powell, who apparently won the job when the Bills cut Brian Stahovich a few days ago, shanked his first punt 19 yards out of bounds.

Preliminary injury report: Wide receiver Kevin Elliott was carted to the locker room in the second quarter with an apparent left leg injury.

Coming up: Buffalo will visit Washington at 4:30 p.m. next Saturday.

Doug Whaley contends Buffalo has enough edge-rushers

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Defensive end Mark Anderson was healthy when the Buffalo Bills released him last week.

General Manager Doug Whaley contends they have plenty of edge rushers on their roster as it is.

"We feel pretty good about it," Whaley said today at his first news conference of training camp. "We think the competition will make people better, and it makes the cream rise to the top."

Anderson will go down as a bust after the Bills signed him to a four-year deal worth about $20 million. He received a $6 million signing bonus, a $100,000 workout bonus and made a $1.9 million base salary last year.

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Bills release Mark Anderson; place Chris Hairston on PUP list

Mark Anderson played in just five games with the Bills last season

By Jay Skurski

The Buffalo Bills made a big roster move prior to the start of training camp, releasing veteran defensive end Mark Anderson after just one season with the team.

Anderson, 30, played in just five games with the Bills last season, making one sack, before a knee injury caused him to miss the rest of the year. He revealed toward the end of the season that the injury was a torn lateral meniscus, which necessitated two surgeries. 

Anderson only practiced on a limited basis in the spring, indicating the injury still had not healed to the team's liking. For his one season, Anderson will get $8.1 million from the team. He received a guaranteed $6 million signing bonus, his 2012 base salary of $1.9 million was guaranteed and he received $100,000 workout bonuses for last season and this year. The team will have $1.6 million on the 2013 salary cap in "dead money" -- the guaranteed portion of his signing bonus for this season, plus the workout bonus, and then a $3 million dead cap hit in 2014, accounting for the remaining two years of signing bonus money on Anderson's contract.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine talked about how he saw Anderson fitting into his scheme during spring practices.

"I think Mark's specialty is rushing the passer and obviously he's very eager to do that, but he has some skill as an outside linebacker, as well, on early downs. We're going to take advantage of his strengths. We've been bringing him along slow. I think the training staff's done a great job getting him out there and getting him some reps. When he was coming out of Chicago a couple years ago, we really liked him as a guy coming off the edge. We're looking forward to having him healthy in the fall."

Anderson's release is a good sign for Jerry Hughes, whom the Bills acquired in a trade with Indianapolis this offseason for inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Additionally, the Bills placed offensive tackle Chris Hairston on the active/physically unable to perform list. Hairston missed most of the spring practices because of a lower body injury. He can come off the list when he is cleared to practice, but in the mean time the Bills can add another player to their roster if they so choose.

Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills' defense ended the second minicamp practice of the week in all-out piranha mode Wednesday.

It was a feeding frenzy of sacks as the Bills' first-string offense under quarterback Kevin Kolb tried to move downfield in a two-minute drill in need of a touchdown.

Kolb managed to elude a rush and improvise a quick-thinking throw over the middle to Fred Jackson for a gain of about 25 yards on a third-down play.

After that, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine dialed up four straight blitzes and ended the series with four straight sacks.

"I'm glad Coach Pettine's on our team, that's for sure, and all those guys they have out there," said offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "Any time you have a defense like we're facing, every single day it's going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I mean, they're bringing everybody from every place and you have to do your best to try to get a foundation and make things happen.

"There's some things that do good and other things that you're just putting your hand on top of your head and just trying to get to the next play."

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Buddy Nix sees Jerry Hughes as versatile fit for defense

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix thinks newly acquired defender Jerry Hughes can fit a couple of roles on the defense of coordinator Mike Pettine. Hughes spent the past three seasons mostly as a backup for the Indianapolis Colts.

"We think this defense and the way they're going to play him will fit what he does best," Nix said by phone with reporters this afternoon. "He was a defensive end at TCU, played with his hand on the ground, did that at first with the Colts, and then when they went to the 3-4, he played a little bit of both.

"But he played behind Robert [Mathis] and Dwight Freeney, so playing time wasn't a lot. We think this will give him an opportunity to do what he does best."

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Top three tacklers gone: Bills trade Kelvin Sheppard for Jerry Hughes

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills now have gotten rid of their top three tacklers from last season.

The Bills announced this afternoon they've traded linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to the Indianapolis Colts for pass-rusher Jerry Hughes.

Hughes was the 31st overall pick in the 2010 draft, but has been a disappointment, starting only seven games in his three NFL seasons.

Hughes made 41 tackles and added a career-high four sacks for the Colts last year.

Sheppard, a 2011 third-round pick, was third on the Bills last year with 77 tackles, three for losses, two sacks and a pass breakup.

The Bills previously cut leading tackler Nick Barnett and No. 2 tackler George Wilson. The Bills' fourth-leading tackler, safey Jairus Byrd, isn't under contract.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |