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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: First Quarter Open Thread

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 23 September 2017
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
DirecTV Ch 712
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 83
Sirius Ch 83
TV Announcers: Thom Brennaman
Chris Spielman
Know Thy Foe: Bucs Nation
Weather: Indoors
Line: Tampa Bay -3, Over/Under 39.5 (Thanks to the SB Nation odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 23, Buccaneers 20
Final Score: Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17

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Once again, it's time for Minnesota Vikings football. Coming off of their first loss of the season last week, they return to the friendly confines of U.S. Bank Stadium to play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So, how can the Vikings bounce back and get their second win of 2017?

1) Stop doing stupid things - Last week in Pittsburgh, the Vikings had 11 penalties for 131 yards. The only thing that may have been worse than the number of penalties was the timing of those penalties, as a lot of the Steelers' points came as a direct result of Minnesota miscues. Against any NFL team, you're not going to give yourself an opportunity to win if you continue to shoot yourself in the foot. Minnesota needs to play a much, much cleaner game this week than they did against Pittsburgh if they want a shot to win this one.

2) Dalvin Cook needs to get going early - Coming into Week 3 of the season, Dalvin Cook was third in the National Football League in rushing yardage. The Vikings have really failed to get him going early, though. . .of his 191 rushing yards, only 25 of them have come in the first half. With the Vikings forced to start Case Keenum at quarterback in this one and against a Bucs defense that's missing a few starters, getting Cook on track early in the proceedings should make things easier for the entire offense in a game that might see them having to keep up with a very good Tampa Bay offense.

3) Keep the defense fresh - This week, the Vikings should be able to make Keenum more comfortable with the game plan than they did last week, when the starting quarterback was still in doubt. Last week in Pittsburgh, the Vikings' offense couldn't sustain long drives, and it eventually took a toll on a defense that had played a relatively solid game. If the Vikings want to win this one, they can't have three-and-outs and short drives on offense. They need to move the ball, score touchdowns, and give the defense an opportunity to get a breather occasionally.

My score prediction might be a little optimistic, but when the Vikings put together the sort of game that they did in Pittsburgh last week, it's rare for them to follow up with a second terrible performance. Case Keenum has had success against the Buccaneers before with offenses that aren't as talented as the one he's running now, and hopefully he got a clunker out of the way last week so that he can lead the Vikings to victory in this one.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff, folks. Keep an eye out for the new Open Thread at the start of each quarter.