Week 8 kicks off tonight as the Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Bucs. Our TNF analyst Trent Green filed this report:
Match-up to watch:
Tampa Bay has two tall receivers in Vincent Jackson (6’5″) and Mike Williams (6’2″). They also like making big plays, with Jackson averaging 21.7 yards per catch and Williams 19.4. Minnesota has 6’2″ Chris Cook at one corner, but 5’9″ Antoine Winfield at the other. Rookie corner Josh Robinson (5’10”) will get plenty of work as well. With this size advantage, look for the Bucs to take some shots when the Vikings give them one-on-one coverage.
Something has to give:
Greg Schiano has a long track record as a masterful defensive coach. He has his young Bucs defense 3rd in the NFL stopping the run, giving up only 76 yards per game. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson enters the game 3rd in the NFL with 652 yards rushing and the Vikings average 132 yards a game on the ground. Look for Schiano to stack against the run and force QB Christian Ponder to beat the Bucs through the air. By the way, the Tampa Bay defense is 6th in the NFL with nine interceptions.
Very special, special teams:
A big reason for the Vikings’ early-season success has been their special teams. They have a kickoff return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown, a blocked FG, a blocked extra point and a 55-yard FG by rookie kicker Blair Walsh. Speaking of Walsh, he is 16 for 17 on field goals this season and is 3 of 3 from over 50 yards. For the Buccaneers, five of their six games have been decided by a touchdown or less. So special teams and field position could be a major factor tonight.
– Trent Green
Former NFL quarterback Trent Green is Westwood One’s Thursday Night Football analyst. Trent, Ian Eagle and sideline reporter Rocky Boiman are in Minnesota to bring you all the action of Bucs-Vikings. Coverage from Mall of America Field begins at 8 PM Eastern tonight.
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