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Regular Season NFL Football Returns To The Metrodome



Date: 18 September 2011
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 12:00 PM Central
Stadium: HHH Metrodome
DirecTV Ch. 710
Know Thy Enemy: Bucs Nation
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 24, Buccaneers 20
Final Score: Buccaneers 24, Vikings 20

One of these two teams is going to be 0-2 once everything gets settled at the Metrodome this afternoon. What do the Vikings have to do to ensure that it isn't them?

1) Take more shots down the field - After the 39-yard passing performance against the Chargers. . .and dear lord, do I hope we never discuss that again after today. . .this one pretty much goes without saying. Donovan McNabb and company need to try to open the offense up significantly more than they did last week. The offense needs to look more like it did in the first half against San Diego and less like how they did in the second half. If the Buccaneers can simply load up to stop Adrian Peterson without having to worry about the consequences, it's going to be another long day for the Minnesota offense.

2) Keep up the pressure with the front four - The Bucs' offensive line isn't one of the league's best, and they're already benching people after one week. Even with the continued absence of Kevin Williams in the middle of the defensive line, this should be a favorable match-up for the Vikings' defensive line. Jared Allen will be facing Donald Penn for most of the afternoon, while Brian Robison draws an assignment against Jeremy Trueblood on the other side. Hopefully those two can win those match-ups for most of the afternoon, and if Remi Ayodele and Letroy Guion can hold things down in the middle. . .particularly if the latter can retain his focus and not jump offside when it matters most. . .the Vikings should be able to make things rough on Josh Freeman and company.

3) Tackle better - That one's really quite simple. The plays that killed the Vikings against the Chargers weren't big passes to the wideouts. The Vikings held Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson. . .as good a pair of big-play threats as they'll see all season. . .to just five catches and 76 yards in the opener. The plays that got them were underneath passes to the backs and tight ends, and with the style of defense the Vikings play, they can't afford to miss tackles the way they did against San Diego. Of course, that will have a lot to do with the performance of the Vikings' offense, as a lot of the missed tackles were the result of Minnesota defenders being gassed after a long second half. Since the Vikings' offense really has nowhere to go but up, I don't think the defense will miss as many tackles, and they should do a better job of getting off the field.

This should be a very even match-up, and it will be the first regular-season game played at the Metrodome since the Vikings' game against the Buffalo Bills last December 5. Hopefully the Vikings' offense can rise above what they showed us last week and give the home folks something to cheer about.