"Last week is behind us. This is a new week." "It's a marathon, not a sprint." Cliches, nonetheless, but as much as I hate them, they apply nicely to this year's Vikings squad as they gear up for this coming Sunday. That day is when Raheem Morris' Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1), invade the Metrodome to take on our beloved Minnesota Vikings (0-1), led by first-year head coach Leslie Frazier.
Both teams are coming off of seven point losses on the road in week one. The Bucs bring a young, talented, high-energy team to Mall of America Field this week, with former Kansas State Wildcat Josh Freeman
under center. Last week against a much-improved Detroit team, Freeman completed a career high 28 passes (out of 48) for 259 yards and a touchdown. He also led the team in rushing with 26 yards, including a long rush of 15 yards. Freeman could be a nightmare for the Vikings defense unless we put pressure on him and force him to make rushed throws. Kind of similar to what we did to Michael Vick
last year on Tuesday Night Football. Freeman's favorite target id second-year wideout Mike Williams. They connected four times for 50 yards, including the only touchdown the Tampa Bay offense contributed in the loss. The touchdown was spectacular though. The running game is spear-headed by LeGarrette Blount. Blount, as may of you may recall, is known for his infamous punching of a Boise State player
after an Oregon loss in his last year with the Ducks. He went undrafted, but was signed by the Titans
, but later cut. The Bucs gave him a chance, and he delivered, rushing for 1007 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns. Blount is a power runner and it will be crucial that Remi Ayodele
plug up the middle and let the other defenders finish him off. The defense for the Bucs was responsible for scoring the other touchdown last week, on a pick six by the almost suspended Aqib Talib
. They also have a very young but talented offensive line, who could cause problems for our struggling O-Line. McNabb could be under a lot of pressure in this game.
Matchup to Watch: Buccaneers D-Line vs Vikings O-Line. It will be interesting to see how our suspect offensive line responds to the young, high-energy defensive front of Tampa Bay. Unless we want to see another 39 yard performance out of Donovan McNabb, it's crucial that we hold steady up front and give our QB some time to throw. Otherwise, it could be a very long day in Minneapolis.
Fantasy Player to Watch: Josh Freeman vs Vikings secondary. If we're not careful, the youngster from K-State could pick apart our last line of defense. I already noted Mike Williams, but against Detroit, Freeman completed passes to seven different teammates. Tight end Kellen Winslow caught six passes for 66 yards (including a 22 yarder), fullback Earnest Graham had eight catches for 58 yards (16 yard long), and Preston Parker had 4 catches for 44 yards. In other words, he was spreading the ball around like Drew Brees.
Prediction: It will be a hard-fought battle, but in the end, I think the Vikes will be victorious at home, 24-20.
Enjoy the game and Skol Vikes!
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