NGSC Sports

Week 8 Preview: Vikings at Bucs Preview


This Sunday will mark the third time in the last four weeks that the Vikings will have to travel to hostile territory to play when they make the trek down to Tampa Bay to face a struggling Buccaneers team. While both teams have seen their highs and lows on both sides of the ball this season, the struggle to find the End zone has been evident for each organization. With each team toting talented rookies on offense and having some players with a big off season pay day on defense, on paper this looks like it could be an NFL fans dream matchup if each team shows up to work. With that being said, lets break down this matchup a little more.

2014 Draft Review

Lets take a look at the top rookies on each team and how they are faring thus far into the season.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Anthony Barr ( 9th Overall )
    • T2nd in the NFL in fumble recoveries 2
    • Second on the team in Tackles 68
  • Teddy Bridgewater (32nd Overall)
    • 72 rushing yards TD
    • 812 passing yards TD, 5 INT’s
  • Jerick McKinnon ( 96th Overall)
    • Top 5 in qualifying running backs with 5.1 yard average
    • 16 receptions 93 receiving yards
    • 2nd in NFL rookie running backs with 309 rushing yards

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Mike Evans (7th Overall)
    • Tied for team lead in TD’s
    • 21 receptions 258 yards 2 TD’s
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins ( 38th Overall)
    • 9 receptions 139 yards 15.4 YPC average
    • Missed 2 game due to injury
  • Robert Herron ( 185th Overall)
    • Has been coming on late as the main slot man
    • 6 receptions 58 yards 9.7 YPC average TD

Head to Head

Although the Vikings hold a 31-22 record in the overall series, the Buccaneers have dominated in recent history winning the last six matchups. The last matchup being the Thursday night showdown in the Metrodome in 2012 as the Bucs led by then quarterback Josh Freeman beat the Vikings 31-17. If the Vikings were to win the game Sunday it would be the first win for Minnesota in Raymond James Stadium and the first win in Tampa Bay since the 1997 season, when the Vikings won 10-6. A Vikings win on Sunday would also snap a 6 game losing streak to the Bucs.

The game looks to lean toward a defensive battle and an offensive struggle. The Vikings are ranked 29th in the NFL in total offense and the Bucs come in right behind at 30th.

3 Keys

Here are each team’s 3 keys if they are to win on Sunday.


1. Get the Running game going

The bucs have struggled all season in stopping the run and it was evident in week 6 when Forsett torched the Bucs defense.

2. Protect Bridgewater

Teddy has shown that when he has time to go through his progressions that he can get the job done. However, with Minnesota’s offensive line in rough shape, they will have to tailor the game plan around the weak and depleted line.

3. Be aggressive Defensively

With the Bucs having their own offensive line issues and the Vikings defensive line coming off a 6 sack performance, the Vikings have to continue the play the hot hand they have and bring pressure and mix up the schemes and alignments within the front seven.

Tampa Bay

1. Stay Balanced

The Bucs have struggled to stay consistent in the running game this season with both Rainey and Martin. In order to keep the Vikings defense on their toes are true to formations they must be able to establish the running game.

2. Solid Secondary play

We have seen what happens when the Bucs face dynamic wide receivers, if you haven’t I suggest throwing the Atlanta game on. Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings are as lethal of a duo as they come if Bridgewater can stay upright. Verner is going to have to find his groove soon as he looks like a guy that Tampa might of overpaid for.

3. Take advantage of Vikes OL Issues

The Tampa Bay Bucs have big names within the front seven of that defense, most notably their two defensive linemen in Michael Johnson and Gerald McCoy. With the Vikes lacking depth and the struggles they have shown against good and fundamentally sound front sevens, the Bucs have to find a way to create havoc to throw Teddy off his game.

The game is set to kickoff at Noon Central time and will be aired regionally on Fox.






Author Profile

Joshua Zimmer
Josh is the Big Ten analyst for NGSC Sports. With his extensive knowledge of the game, he will be keeping an eye on some of the conference's top NFL Draft prospects while also serving as the Gophers analyst. He also covers the NHL.

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