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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Sep 16 2011 @ 1:23 am In Minnesota Vikings | No Comments

The Vikings will host the Buccaneers on Sunday in their home opener.  Traditionally, Minnesota has played very well in the Metrodome, but if they want to get their first win on Sunday, they will have to play much better than they did week 1 against the Chargers.

The biggest challenge facing the Vikings on Sunday will be getting some production out of the passing game.  Donovan McNabb threw for only 39 yards in San Diego last week.  That kind of production makes the Childress/Tarvaris era look like Air Coryell and Dan Fouts.  If Minnesota can’t compile at least 200 yards in the air, they will lose to the Bucs and start the season 0-2.  Not all of the burden falls on Donovan though.  He only had 15 pass attempts.  New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave needs to find a way to open up the offense and take some pressure off of Adrian Peterson.

AP will need to have a big game if Minnesota expects to beat Tampa this week.  I expect him to explode on Sunday.  This guy is the hardest runner in the NFL and he loves to play in front of his home fans.  Unless the Vikes fall behind early, Peterson will have upwards of 140 yards rushing.

Defensively, the Vikings need to hit Josh Freeman.  He is an extremely large quarterback at 6’6″, but pressure will make any QB play differently.  Minnesota needs to dial up some blitzes and see if they can force the young QB into some mistakes.  Fans need to remember that this was a young team that put together a 10-6 campaign last year.  Just in case you forgot, the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers were 10-6 too.  The Vikings have to execute if they want to beat the Bucs.

The second game of a season is never a must-win game, but this team needs to play better.  Period.  As sharp as McNabb and the Viking offense looked at times during the preseason, they looked inept in week 1.  In my opinion, part of the problem is the lack of a #1 receiver.  Bernard Berrian is too small to fight for the ball like Sidney Rice, and while he is fast, he’s not Randy Moss fast.  Minnesota needs to win this game.  They are the only team in the NFC North that lost last week.  By the end of the season, I think that this division will be regarded as the toughest(and best) in the NFL.  I expect the Vikings to make enough plays to win on Sunday, 20-17.

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