Mystery surrounds the Minnesota Vikings this week as they have yet to name a starting quarterback for their home contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Sam Bradford missed last week’s loss to Pittsburgh due to a knee injury but has been a limited participant in practice this week and could be ready for Tampa Bay.
Bradford was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening win over New Orleans but was replaced last week by Case Keenum, who completed 20-of-37 passes for 167 yards. Keenum may not be a bad option for Minnesota on Sunday, however, as he helped defeat the Buccaneers each of the last two seasons while starting for the Los Angeles Rams. After being forced to wait a week to start the season thanks to Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay rolled to a 29-7 triumph over Chicago last Sunday. The Buccaneers put forth a strong defensive effort, forcing four turnovers while allowing a total of 20 yards on 16 rushes.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -2. O/U: 41
ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (1-0): DeSean Jackson made only three catches for 39 yards in his debut for Tampa Bay but has had 14 receptions for 315 yards and two touchdowns in his last two contests against the Vikings. Minnesota also will have to pay close attention to Mike Evans, who ranks third in the NFC with 2,620 receiving yards since 2015 - including 93 in last week’s victory. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice after sitting out the day before with an ankle injury.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (1-1): Minnesota is hoping to get the better of Tampa Bay via the ground game, as Dalvin Cook (191 yards) leads the NFC in rushing, Jerick McKinnon has scored three touchdowns over his last four home games and C.J. Ham registered his first rushing TD last week. Defensive end Everson Griffen has created problems for opponents and looks to continue doing so after registering his ninth career multi-sack performance with two against the Steelers and one in each of his last two meetings with the Buccaneers. Griffen ranks fifth in the league with 31.5 sacks since 2014, while Harrison Smith leads NFL safeties with 6.5 in that span.
1. Cook is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
2. Buccaneers CB Brent Grimes leads the NFL with 67 passes defended since the start of the 2013 season.
3. Keenum threw four touchdown passes and just one interception in his two wins over Tampa Bay.
PREDICTION: Buccaneers 24, Vikings 20