Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE
In their only primetime game of the season, the Vikings try to improve to 6-2 as the NFL hits the midpoint of the season.
Thursday Night Football heads north this week for a matchup between the Vikings and Buccaneers. This will be Minnesota's first and only primetime game this season, and it's the first time since 2000 that they're hosting a Thursday night game. The Vikings are coming off an impressive home win against Arizona, holding a two-touchdown lead for most of the second half against the tumbling Cards.
Adrian Peterson had his best game of the season last week, punishing the Arizona front seven for 153 yards on the ground. He averaged nearly 7 yards per carry, and looked to be in old form on his surgically repaired knee. With Christian Ponder struggling, he almost single-handedly carried the Vikes to victory.
Peterson will now face a much tougher test on Thursday, with the Bucs boasting the third-best rush defense in the league. Greg Schiano's team is holding opponents to just 76 yards per game on the ground, but their porous secondary might account for the relative lack of production on the ground. Teams have settled on attacking the Bucs through the air, and they were lit up by Drew Brees in Week 7. Statistically, they have the second-worst pass defense in the league, a big reason for them dropping four of their past five games. They'll continue to play without one of their best defensive backs, Aqib Talib, who's in the middle of serving a four-game suspension.
It's a golden opportunity for Ponder to impress on the national stage, and provide some balance to counter the efforts of Peterson on the ground. At 5-2, and playing at home in the dome on a short week, the Vikings are tabbed as touchdown favorites by the oddsmakers.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 25; 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: NFL Network