The Minnesota Vikings hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first week of the 2015 NFL Preseason. The Vikings, who have been playing at the home of the Minnesota Gophers, TCF Bank Stadium, while their new home is being built, are entering their final season at the temporary home.
Vikings veteran, returning from an almost yearlong suspension, Adrian Peterson, would not play in the preseason game. Teddy Bridgewater was the buzz for Vikings fans. Unfortunately for the purple faithful, less than a minute into the game, the Vikings lost Phil Loadholt when he tore his Achilles tendon. Loadholt will be out the rest of the season.
The buzz, despite the game being played in Minnesota, was that 2015 first overall draft pick Jameis Winston would appear for the first time in an NFL game.
The game started with the Vikings jumping to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter before the Buccaneers kicked a field goal. Kicker Blaire Walsh scored first, kicking 46 yard field goal. Zach Line scored with just over 4 minutes left in the half on a run yard run, pushed through by the offensive line.
Jameis Winston suited up for the first time for the Buccaneers and struggled early. He found his rhythm later in the first half and scored, running the ball in for a touchdown, but struggled, as was expected.
Some noteworthy performances for the Vikings included:
Defensive end Everson Griffen caused Jameis Winston lots of trouble, sacking him once and rushing him a few other times.
Another defender that looked great was Antone Exum Jr., who intercepted a Winston pass that later led to a Cordarrelle Patterson touchdown. The Safety spot has been a place where the Vikings need improvement and there are five safeties competing for the team.
Bridgewater completed 7-8 passes for 86 yards in his short appearance. Shaun Hill would step in and complete 8 of 9 passes for 104 yards. Finally Taylor Heinicke closed the game completing 12-16 for 103 yards.
Minnesota native Adam Thielen caught two passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. As if to be a deja vu moment, another Minnesota naïve with a long-shot of making the team, Isaac Fruechte was targeted twice and caught both passes in the second half for 16 yards.
The Vikings will have several things to work on in the coming weeks including, as Zimmer said, going 2-10 on third down and giving up a 3rd and long pass because there was not a player back helping. Overall, however, the head coach had many good things to say.