The Vikings hope to continue their winning ways at Mall of America Field in a Thursday Night Football match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikings (5-2) are undefeated at home, something they plan to continue on this short rest week. The Buccaneers’ (2-4) record may be under .500, but their quarterback Josh Freeman is coming off a game where he threw for 420 yards in a loss to the Saints.
The Vikings and Buccaneers will have just four days to prepare for Thursday’s game. Both teams are coming off a Sunday game that was decided by seven points. However, the Vikings do have an advantage that the game will be played in Minnesota.
The Vikings are hoping to see a bounce back performance from QB Christian Ponder, who threw for 58 yards in Sunday’s win against the Cardinals. Ponder has shown that he is able to come back from poor performances, making critical passes in games where he’s thrown interceptions or the team is behind.
“When you look at moments where he’s struggled, and then you’ve seen him bounce back, even after the first interception to come back and take us down for a score when he threw the pass to Percy Harvin for a touchdown, those are signs that he’s maturing as a quarterback,” head coach Leslie Frazier said about Ponder. “He’s able to put bad plays behind him and that’s what you have to be able to do at that position. That’s important to our team, it’s important to him. I am. I’m confident that he’ll just continue to get better as time goes on.”
The Buccaneers defense will also prove to be tough on the Vikings’ run game. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks first in the NFL by allowing only 3.1 yards per carry. In six games, they have only allowed one running back to reach over 100 yards rushing. Adrian Peterson, who took home the honor of NFC Offensive Player of the Week, is coming off a game in which he ran for 153 yards and one touchdown. Expect a great match up between the Bucs’ defense and Peterson.