GS: Even considering all the disappointment of a week ago, the worst part about being 0-1 is that the Bucs have a possibility of falling to 0-2. How badly do they need to win today?
JR: Do they need to win to salvage the season? No. Teams have come back from 0-2 before, and at worst, the Bucs would be one game behind in the NFC South. Do they need to win to sell future tickets? Absolutely. There are a lot of reasons for poor attendance in recent seasons, but fan skepticism ranks high on that list. An 0-2 start will only reinforce the perception among some fans that the team did little to help itself in the offseason.
GS: On the other hand, winning forgives a lot. And this time, fans can actually see this game.
JR: Are you sure that's a good thing?
GS: Absolutely not. This game should come with a parental warning. If the Bucs don't tackle any better than they did last week, Adrian Peterson is going to go horror show on them. Would you let your son watch?
JR: Only chance of that happening is if SpongeBob SquarePants plays defensive end. And the Bucs refused to sign him.
GS: That's because SpongeBob was a free agent. The Bucs prefer to draft their own cartoons.
JR: So what are the odds the Bucs can get back on track against the Vikings today? More specifically, against Peterson, who has averaged close to 110 yards per game in his career at Mall of America Field.
GS: Peterson is a load, and he's the reason the Bucs are slight underdogs. And don't forget, Donovan McNabb has been thrown away by two teams in two years, but he has had some moments against the Bucs. But I still see the Vikings as the last-place team in their division. It's winnable, don't you think?
JR: If you're a playoff-caliber team, you have to expect to win a certain number of road games. This is one of those games. It's too early to say if it will define their season, but it should give us an important clue.
GS: Agreed. Last year's turnaround was helped by six road wins. As I recall, the Bucs were underdogs in most of those, too. Here's a question: Which has to improve more, the offense or the defense?
JR: I don't know who wins the you-were-worse debate, but I know they both need to improve. The offense gave up the ball too quickly, and the defense didn't get it back fast enough. Bottom line: What do you see happening?
GS: I see a sharper offense. I see a defense that still gives up too many big plays. I see 17-17 in the fourth quarter. In the end, however, I see 0-2.
JR: Guess it's my turn to play good cop. I agree the defense will get burned a couple of times by being overly aggressive on turf, but I think the Bucs pull it out. Barely.
This week's electronic conversation between columnists John Romano and Gary Shelton: