For as long as The Daily Norseman has been on the internet, we’ve enjoyed our Five Good Questions segments. We exchange questions with the SB Nation site that covers the team that the Minnesota Vikings will play during a given week and attempt to garner some intel about their team before each week’s game.
We’re bringing that back this season, starting with our friends at Bucs Nation, SB Nation’s home of Tampa Bay Buccaneers football. I exchanged questions with Evan Wanish, one of the Bucs Nation staff, to see what we can learn around the 2022 NFC South champions heading into this one. When he posts my responses to his questions, I will have them up here on the site. For now, here are my questions for him, along with his answers.
1) The Buccaneers are starting the post-Tom Brady era in Minneapolis on Sunday with a new quarterback (obviously) in Baker Mayfield and a new offensive coordinator, Dave Canales. What are you expecting from the former #1 overall pick and their new playcaller?
It’s kinda hard to have true expectations more so for Dave Canales than Baker Mayfield. With Mayfield, there is enough tape on him to know what you are likely gonna get week in and week out, but this is Canales’ first time ever being a play caller at the NFL level so I think this year he could throw some stuff at defenses that they may not be expecting. As for Baker, protecting the football is key. That has been one of his biggest issues since entering the league and I expect the Bucs to make sure he limits the turnovers.
2) Mike Evans has been a great receiver for a long time, and has been very vocal about his desire for a new contract from the Buccaneers. Do you think this situation has been a distraction for the team, or could it become a distraction if it lingers on?
I don’t think it’s a distraction right now and that is partially because of how Evans has handled this whole thing. He could have very easily sat out of training camp or asked for a trade but he continued to come to work and was focused on doing the best he could. However I do think it could become a distraction if they don’t get a deal done and the Bucs begin to struggle. A lot of trade speculation may come out of that and it may not be great for that locker room.
3) While the offense struggled last season, the Bucs’ defense played some pretty solid football. If you were Vikings’ offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, how would you go about attacking the Tampa defense?
Being able to run the ball against Tampa’s defense which used to be so good at stopping the run but fell off a bit last year is key. Being able to run the football effectively in this game to put the offense in 3rd and short situations and also be able to work the play action better to get the ball into Jefferson’s hands as well as the many other targets they have is the way to go in this one. If the Vikings offense doesn’t have success on the ground early, don’t try and force the issue. Abandon it and use those receiving weapons to your advantage.
4) Give us one “under the radar” player on each side of the ball for the Bucs that you think could play a pivotal role in the results of Sunday’s game.
An under the radar guy for the Bucs offense I think could be second year tight end Cade Otton. He had a solid rookie season and has looked good in training camp. They are hoping he takes strides as he is the clear TE1 in Tampa. As for the defense, I think rookie Yaya Diaby could make a play or two that makes a huge difference in this game. He’s an explosive pass rusher that can make an impact.
5) The Buccaneers are heading into Sunday’s game as a sizeable underdog, according to the folks from the DraftKings SportsBook. The Vikings are a 6-point favorite going into this one. Do you think that’s an accurate depiction of how this one will finish?
Unfortunately for Bucs fans, I do think the Vikings will take this one by a similar point spread. I am intrigued by the Bucs +6 because I do think it will be a close game but ultimately I think the Vikings come out on top in this one.
Thanks again to Evan for taking the time to answer our questions about this week’s game!