KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
TV: FOX, Curt Menefee, JC Pearson
50th meeting. Vikings lead the all-time series 31-18. Longtime members of the old NFC Central renew their rivalry. The Bucs posted 41 points in consecutive home wins against the Vikings in 2000 and 2001 and won 38-24 in their last meeting in 2002.
Bucs: offense 22nd (29th rush, 14th pass); defense 5th (19th rush, 1st pass).
Vikings: offense 4th (18th rush, 2nd pass); defense 28th (21st rush, 29th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME
Who can establish the run better? The Bucs feel rookie RB Carnell Williams is ready to be their franchise back now, but new LT Anthony Davis must hold his own in the running game and protect QB Brian Griese's blind side.
With Randy Moss gone, the Vikings have vowed to run the ball more behind their massive offensive line. The weakness of the Bucs' defense last year was stopping the run, but Vikings RBs Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore had nagging injuries at the end of the preseason.
The big question is seeing how Minnesota's revamped defense with five new starters fares in its first real test.
Bucs: Have 21 first or second-year players on 53-man roster. ... Went 1-7 on the road in 2004.
Vikings: Have three receivers who were Top 10 picks (Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor, Koren Robinson). ... Culpepper's 93.2 career passer rating entering the season is third all-time behind Steve Young (96.8) and Kurt Warner (95.7).
Vikings-Bucs Game Snapshot
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