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Week 3 Ups and Downs: Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

25 September 2017

The 2017 Buccaneers won their season opener in impressive fashion against the Chicago Bears. Zimmer said he probably won't know until gametime, meaning the Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be in the dark about Bradford until gametime on Sunday (10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, FOX, DirecTV).

Here's a closer look at winners and losers from Sunday's loss to the Vikings.

The Wilfs said they support the right of Vikings players, coaches, and staff to "respectfully and peacefully express their beliefs". Winston's interceptions did make it virtually impossible for the Bucs to mount a comeback, however, with two of them coming in the Vikings' end zone on deep throws into coverage. "Me and Case [Keenum] connected on a couple of passes and we got it going". No Bradford puts more pressure on rookie running back Dalvin Cook as well.

Then, the Buccaneers will have a tough turnaround with a Thursday night game against the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

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The Buccaneers also had trouble pressuring the Vikings' quarterback, though they tried a variety of blitzes during the game.

Case Keenum played brilliantly on Sunday. They were only able to sack Winston twice, but they were in his face and kept the pressure on him. "I thought [offensive line coach] Tony Sparano had a good plan for how to block him, and I thought the guys up front really did a good job executing that game plan". CB Trae Waynes, S Andrew Sendejo and S Harrison Smith all had interceptions for Minnesota. Mike Evans had 67 yards in seven catches while Chris Godwin added 44 yards in three catches. They could have been on their way to making it a one-score game, but Jameis Winston was intercepted for the second time in the game. But largely thanks to Diggs, the Vikings didn't kill clock until halftime, instead turning in a six-play, 92-yard touchdown drive.

"I've got to come through, I've got to protect the football, especially on our side of the field", said Winston.

Fresh off their convincing season-opening win last week, the Buccaneers' defense was in shambles without three starters and several players leaving during the game with various injuries.

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Keenum played pitch and catch like it was the family bragging rights street game before Thanksgiving dinner. "We've got to be in a better position". An early shot downfield on the game's third play, a 45-yard pass to Thielen, helped settle the quarterback down, Keenum said.

Many players have opted to kneel during the anthem since then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick started doing it last season. Two plays later, Cook dived over left guard for the score, though he lost the ball in the process. Their performance in the fourth quarter may be the sign that the Giants, who made the playoffs last season, are on the road back. He finished with 169 total yards. Folk came on to drill a 40-yard field goal down the middle. The Bucs rushed for just 26 yards as a team, a low in the 34 games since now-coach Dirk Koetter arrived as offensive coordinator in 2015.

The Vikings nearly got one a year ago with Sam Bradford at quarterback. Diggs started it with a diving 17-yard catch on the left sideline. Keenum set a personal-best mark with 369 yards passing. Reedy, who made his National Football League debut in last week's opener, also had his first offensive touches, with a 6-yard catch and a 3-yard carry. If Bradford cannot go, this could be a long afternoon for the Vikings, who will struggle to move the ball against this Bucs defense. Thielen had 44 yards and Diggs just the 27. The Vikings lead the all time series 32-22. One such team is the #Minnesota Vikings, and they are desperately trying to return to form. DeSean Jackson isn't the possession receiver.

John is a writer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Week 3 Ups and Downs: Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers