Vikings-Bucs game scout

In a series that is close and a game that should be close, the Bucs might have the advantage with their strong home record this year. Get the game facts, series history and fast facts for Sunday's game.

Sunday
Denver Broncos (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (6-3)
Minnesota Vikings (5-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1)
Oakland Raiders (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-4)
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)
Detroit Lions (0-9) at Carolina Panthers (7-2)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-8)
Chicago Bears (5-4) at Green Bay Packers (4-5)
Houston Texans (3-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-4)
Tennessee Titans (9-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5)
Arizona Cardinals (6-3) at Seattle Seahawks (2-7)
St. Louis Rams (2-7) at San Francisco 49ers (2-7)
San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Dallas Cowboys (5-4) at Washington Redskins (6-3)
Monday
Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-4)

Minnesota Vikings (5-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 11/16/08
SURFACE: Grass
TV: FOX (Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers)

SERIES


51st regular-season meeting. The Vikings lead the series, 31-19, but the Buccaneers have won the past three meetings overall and the past five at home. The Vikings haven't won at Raymond James Stadium.

KEYS TO THE GAME

One reason the Vikings turned to QB Gus Frerotte was for his ability to take advantage of opponents over-playing the run to hit plays downfield. That's a difficult task against the Tampa-2, which is designed to eliminate big completions. The Bucs are allowing just 3.8 yards per carry and only one rushing touchdown all season, so this isn't a game the Vikings can win by simply force-feeding the ball to RBs Peterson and Chester Taylor.

Vikings CB Cedric Griffin figures to be a busy man. The Bucs are a bit beat-up in the backfield and didn't figure to do much damage against the league's third-ranked rush defense regardless. And with most opponents shying away from CB Antoine Winfield on the other side, Griffin will likely be Bucs QB Jeff Garcia's main target as well. If the ground game stalls, Tampa Bay will use more three-receiver sets and attack new Vikings nickel CB Benny Sapp.

FAST FACTS

  • Peterson has 12 100-yard rushing games in 23 career games.

  • Bucs QB Aqib Talib is tied for the NFL lead among rookies with three interceptions.

  • The Vikings beat Tampa Bay, 9-3, in the first meeting between the teams on Sept. 24, 1977 in Tampa, Fla.

  • The Vikings and Buccaneers were divisional opponents from 1977 to 2001 before the NFL realigned. Minnesota had three winning streaks of five games against the Buccaneers, including two during the 1980s.

  • Tampa Bay is 13-12 all-time at home against the Vikings. This includes a 27-24 victory in 1998, the only loss Minnesota suffered that year during the regular season. The Vikings lost to Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.

  • Former Vikings and Buccaneers running back Michael Bennett had an 85-yard touchdown run for Minnesota in a 38-24 loss on Nov. 3, 2002. That stood as a team record until Chester Taylor went for a 95-yard score at Seattle in 2006. Bennett just signed with San Diego this week after the Bucs released him.

  • Former Tampa Bay running back James Wilder is one of only four NFL players to rush for 200-plus yards against the Vikings. He went for 219 yards in a 17-12 victory on Nov. 6, 1983 at the Metrodome.

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress has never faced the Buccaneers; Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden is 2-0 against Minnesota since he took over in 2002. This includes a 24-13 victory at the Metrodome to open the 2005 season. Safety Darren Sharper, playing in his first game as a member of the Vikings that day, returned the interception of a Brian Griese pass 88 yards for a touchdown.

  • Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin served on the Vikings' coaching staff from 1986-89 and again from 1991-94. Drafted as an offensive tackle out of Nebraska by the Vikings in the 15th-round in 1964, Kiffin went onto play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL under future Vikings coach Bud Grant.

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