This may be the hardest game to predict for the Buccaneers in the first quarter of the season.
On one hand, the Vikings don’t have much of an offensive line to speak of, but in the preseason the Bucs didn’t have much of a pass rush to compare.
New running back Latavius Murray is going to try to fill the shoes left by Adrian Peterson, and rookie Dalvin Cook will look to punish Tampa Bay who was rumored to be interested in the Florida State product early in the draft process.
An average passing attack led by Sam Bradford will look for quick routes and successful screens leading to over-the-top chances when Tampa’s safeties start creeping forward.
The deep ball is going to be the deciding factor here, and if Stefon Diggs can get a 40+ yard play or two, it might be a long day for the Buccaneers defense.
On offense, Winston and company need the defense to contain Minnesota’s attack.
This defense is one of the better ones in the NFL and it’s going to be all about the quarterback here. Well, it’ll be all about ball control, which means it’s all about Winston in Tampa.
Vikings defenders forced 27 turnovers in 2016, and the Bucs quarterback isn’t exactly known for ball security.
Last year, Minnesota’s defense just couldn’t keep up with the workload they had to carry as the offense was stifled repeatedly.
It’s common strategy, but if the Buccaneers can force multiple three-and-out possessions for the Vikings offense, then things will go their way.
In the end, no Doug Martin and Winston having yet to show he can cut back on some of the head scratching interceptions doesn’t look good for this one.