It was like re-living a bad dream. The Vikings opened up with a strong 1st half, took a lead into the locker room at halftime and then watched their lead slowly slip away and turn into a deficit during the 2nd half. That’s what happened to the Vikings last week in San Diego and it happened again on Sunday in the home opener, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers providing the heartbreak this time.
Donovan McNabb and Adrian Peterson came out looking sharp in the opening half, with McNabb going 11 of 17 for 153 yards and Peterson looking nearly unstoppable on 15 carries for 83 yards and 2 TDs. The Vikings outgained Tampa Bay 284-62, held a 17-3 advantage in 1st downs and possessed the ball for almost 10 more minutes. The result of that 1st half domination was a 17-0 halftime lead and a home crowd that was buzzing.
But then the Vikings opened the 2nd half by going 3-and-out, punting to Tampa Bay and then watching the Buccaneers go 44 yards in just 2 plays to cut into the lead and make the score 17-7. The Buccaneers then got wise and successfully attempted an onsides kick. Vikings S Husain Abdullah ended the ensuing drive with an INT in the endzone, but by that point it was already apparent that this Buccaneers team wasn’t going away easily.
It was all Buccaneers the rest of the way. They kept the Vikings out of the endzone after a 12-play, 69-yard drive and Ryan Longwell came on to convert his second FG attempt of the day. But FGs weren’t going to be enough to stave off Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers scored the final 14 points of the game, with the final score coming on a LaGarrette Blount TD run with just 35 seconds to play in the game, giving the Buccaneers a 4-point lead and ultimately the win.
Peterson finished the game with 120 yards rushing on 25 carries, which is a good box score under normal circumstances. But the Vikings went to Peterson just 10 times in the 2nd half and it amounted to 37 yards. McNabb finished going 18 of 300 for 228 yards with no TDs or INTs. The top receiving target for Minnesota was Percy Harvin, who had 7 receptions for 76 yards.
Defensively, the Vikings were led in tackles by Antoine Winfield (11). DEs Jared Allen and Everson Griffen both tallied a QB sack and Abdullah had an INT.
The loss drops the Vikings to 0-2 on the season and they’ll try to right the ship next Sunday when they host their first NFC North game of the year, as the Detroit Lions come to Mall of America Field.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Brian Robison, Donovan McNabb, Husain Abdullah, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin
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