Leodis McKelvin certainly didn't pass the eyeball test yesterday against the Minnesota Vikings. The Buffalo Bills cornerback has been starting in place of injured Terrence McGee for the majority of the season and yesterday was by far the former first round pick's worst outing.
In the first quarter with the Vikings pinned inside their own 10 yard line replacement quarterback Tarvaris Jackson hit wideout Sidney Rice for a 46-yard bomb on 3rd and 11. The defense held but the Vikings were able to flip field position and the Bills began their next possession on their own 13.
After giving up passes of 13 and 14 yards two drives later to Rice and Bernard Berrian, the Vikings went after McKelvin again on a long bomb. Rice, McKelvin, and Donte Whitner met at the one yard line with the ball and when the dust had cleared both McKelvin and Rice had possession. The referee, who missed a blatant pass interference call on Rice, ruled that the play concluded out of bounds and was an incompletion. On replay the passed was ruled a completion and Rice had his second 30+ yard catch over McKelvin on the day.
On the ensuing kickoff McKelvin caught the ball and turned upfield to his left when the ball was punched out of his right hand by the Vikings defender. Minnesota recovered the ball on Buffalo's 14 yard line. On third down McKelvin was flagged for pass interference when he grab hold of Berrian's right arm and two plays later Adrian Peterson pounded the ball in for seven points.
In the span of two minutes McKelvin had been almost entirely responsible for turning a 7-0 lead into a 14-7 defecit. The Vikings wouldn't look back.
His ensuing return went only five yards and he dropped his next kickoff return but scooped it up for another five yard return. After that he was relieved of his kick return duties by C.J. Spiller.
In the third quarter McKelvin did make one positive play, picking off a tipped pass on an athletic play.
He is second on the team with eight passes defended on the season.
With an aging and injury-prone Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence in the final year of his contract McKelvin stepping up and playing better is an absolute must. He hadn't recorded an interception since his rookie season and started only 3 games a year ago with Florence taking the starting spot many believed would go to McKelvin.
When McGee has been healthy he's been starting alongside Florence. If McKelvin doesn't improve the Bills will certainly target a cornerback in this year's draft. They probably should even if he does show improvement.