Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: The analysis

1 p.m., Mall of America Field, Minneapolis | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Vikings by 3, 411/2

Bucs

It's still difficult to tell exactly what the Vikings will be like with newcomer Donovan McNabb under center (though he threw for only 39 yards last week against the Chargers). But it's clear their central mission will continue to be getting running back Adrian Peterson going. The Bucs have shown a tendency during the past few seasons to allow great individual rushing performances. But look for safeties Cody Grimm and Sean Jones to take a bigger role in stopping the run. That wasn't possible in the opener because of the threat of Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson. The Vikings' passing game isn't quite that potent.

Vikings' best offensive player

Running back is becoming more and more an interchangeable position in the NFL, but that's not the case in Minnesota. The Vikings recently made Adrian Peterson, right, the league's highest-paid running back with a contract that could max out at $100 million. Peterson's blend of speed and power will present a formidable challenge for the Bucs.

Vikings' best defensive player

End Jared Allen has 56 sacks since 2007, and he'll be a constant threat to quarterback Josh Freeman. Left tackle Donald Penn will be charged with slowing Allen in the noisy dome. Penn said Allen takes advantage of offensive linemen's inability to hear the snap count.

What the Vikings do best

The Vikings stress ball control with running back Adrian Peterson and have the ability to take downfield shots with receivers Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian. On defense, they are aggressive. But the effectiveness of Jared Allen (83½ sacks since 2004) might be impacted by the drug-related suspension of fellow tackle Kevin Williams.

You can beat the Vikings if …

You aren't playing from behind. When the scoreboard tilts in their favor, the Vikings can go to their strengths: the running game and pass rush.

The Bucs must avoid …

Another early deficit. Besides the fact the Bucs are notoriously slow starters, Mall of America Field is expected to be packed to the rafters for the Vikings' home opener. It's one of the loudest venues in sports. And if the crowd gets going early, it could be a long day for a young team such as the Bucs.

Prediction

The Bucs find some offensive balance and get a couple of picks off Donovan McNabb.

Bucs 21, Vikings 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: The analysis 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 3:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  2. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  4. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Jones: Stop talking and start building a new Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was good to see Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, talking Rays baseball and the hope for a new stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is popular with the media on a visit to Tropicana Field.