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Other Week 1 Game Recaps
ARI at NYGCHI at WASCIN at CLEDAL at SDDEN at MIAGB at DETHOU at BUFIND at BAL
NO at CARNYJ at KCOAK at NEPHI at ATLSEA at JAXSTL at SFTB at MINTEN at PIT

Week 1 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Minnesota Vikings 13


What you need to know

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers started the game slow, quickly punting after failing to establish a rhythm on their first two possessions. On the third play of the third drive of the game, Brian Griese threw an interception right to Darren Sharper that was returned 88 yards for the first score of the game. After the interception, the offense seemed to awaken and Griese started hitting his targets.

Rookie Carnell Williams made a great debut. He consistently ran for positive yardage averaging 5.48 yards a carry although this statistic is a little skewed from his 71 yard touchdown run at the end of the game when Tampa Bay was attempting to run out the clock. With all the talk that Michael Pittman would see plenty of playing time, it was all Williams running the ball.

Griese seemed to find a new favorite target in the red zone as the teams first two scores were a 23 yard and a two yard touchdown pass to Alex Smith, not the number one pick, but the Buccaneersí new tight end. Smith finished with four receptions for 34 yards on four targets.

Joey Galloway and second year receiver Michael Clayton were also on Griese's radar as the rest of his passes were almost evenly split between the two receivers. Galloway made a nice adjustment on a ball thrown behind him to pick up 30 yards right before the end of the first quarter, which set up the Buccaneersí first touchdown. Clayton also showed he can make big plays finishing a 41 yard completion with about a 20 yard run after bouncing off a Minnesota defender.

The Tampa Bay defense was big in the team's victory as they forced three interceptions and recovered two fumbles from Daunte Culpepper. Brian Kelly had two interceptions with a tackle and Simeon Rice had three tackles and one sack, but was putting pressure on Culpepper most of the game.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings started the season after losing their offensive coordinator and of course former star wide receiver Randy Moss. Culpepper struggled the entire game along with the offense that was never able to find a rhythm. The offense seemed to be moving the ball early in the game, but turnovers and costly penalties prevented the Vikings from rewarding themselves with an offensive touchdown. The highlight of the game was an 88 yard interception return by Darren Sharper who was an offseason addition from the Green Bay Packers.

Jermaine Wiggins was Culpepper's favorite target and they hooked up for two touchdown passes, however, neither of them counted because of costly penalties. Wiggins was called for pass interference on a questionable call and, the other touchdown was called back for a block in the back. Despite all the penalties and fumbles, Culpepper was still able to pass for 233 yards and even though Wiggins only had four receptions for 33 yards, he did have ten targets. Burleson had eight targets, but he only had three catches for 45 yards.

The Vikings running game was non-existent, and they ended the game with 33 rushing yards, and Culpepper ran for 19 of them. Moe Williams and Michael Bennett looked lost, running the ball straight into the Buccaneers front seven, six times each.

The Vikingsí defense forced two interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown by Sharper who also led the team with seven tackles. Newly acquired Pat Williams also looked strong when he picked Cadillac Williams up off the ground and slammed him down for a loss to go along with his four tackles and one sack. Fred Smoot had the other interception.


What you ought to know

QB Brian Griese, Pass: 18 - 29 - 213 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0

Griese got off to a slow start as he seemed to have early season jitters trying to find a rhythm with his receivers. He threw two early interceptions down the field in the first half, one for an 88 yard touchdown return and another on a pass that he was trying to throw away. After his two interceptions, he looked great, spreading the ball around to Galloway, Clayton and Alex Smith. He seemed to slightly prefer Galloway when it came to deep passes even though Clayton had one more target than Galloway. Alex Smith was definitely his main target in the red zone.

QB Jameis Winston

Winston looked rough in his regular-season debut outing. He threw two interceptions and had another near interception in the first quarter that bounced off a defender's hands. He was also sacked 4 times and hit several more on his way to posting a miserable QB rating.

Winston scrambled quite a bit, without much success, but did manage to pick up a 4 and 1 in the first quarter with his feet. Jameis took a big shot from a linebacker during a second quarter scramble, something that had to give his coaches some indigestion. Winston oftentimes threw on the run without setting his feet, resulting in a lot of the inaccuracy that plagued him for the day. It's something that coaches should be able to help him with, but the Bucs offensive line is going to have to do a better job as well, if he is going to stand in the pocket with any confidence.

Winston's first interception was thrown right into the hands of a defender who was covering Adamp Humphries as he ran a shallow out route on 3rd and short, and promptly taken to the house for a touchdown. Jameis apparently didn't see the defender following Humphries step for step in coverage. It was ugly. His second pick of the day occurred with just a couple of minutes left in the 2nd quarter. A defensive lineman who fell down at the start of the play jumped to his feet and snagged Winston's pass as he attempted to throw a short RB screen to Charles Sims on 3rd and 2.

Winston's first touchdown, a short out route to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, came right after a lucky play. Winston nearly threw his second interception of the game as he looked for ASJ on the sidelines, but the ball clanged off of a defender's waiting hands and into the arms of ASJ. The pair connected for a touchdown on the next play. ASJ cut a quick out route and just left the linebacker in coverage behind him, making it an easy toss for Jameis. Winston's second touchdown of the day also went to ASJ, who did most of the work with a 41-yard catch and run.

Winston looks extremely nervous in the pocket, and perhaps rightfully so, but he is going to have to work on setting his feet and improving the accuracy of his passes. He had a lot of passes that sailed well clear of their target. Though the Bucs' offensive line is still struggling, Jameis himself has a lot of work to do. The return of Mike Evans will give him another solid, large option in the passing game, and should help some, at least.

RB Cadillac Williams, Rush: 27 - 148 - 1

Williams came into this game with high expectations, and he lived up to them. He showed an ability to wait for his blockers and grind out four and five yard gains on a consistent basis. He finished with 148 yards rushing, although his stats were padded by a 71 yard touchdown runat the end of the game. He showed toughness and tenacity. He is definitely the main option at running back.

RB Jameel Cook, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)

Cook was not much of a factor in the game and only had seven yards receiving.

RB Mike Alstott, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)

Alstott wasn't much of a factor in the game. He had one rush for no gain and incomplete pass thrown his way.

RB Michael Pittman (1 targets)

Pittman wasn't used in the game except for a pass thrown his was which he dropped. There had been plenty of talk that Pittman might still be a factor with Williams but this was not the case.

RB Earnest Graham (3 targets)

Graham had success running the ball against the Saints, rushing ten times for 91 yards, but unfortunately for him and the Buccaneers, they turned to more of an aerial attack and couldnít translate that success into big yardage totals. At the same time, Graham split carries with Warrick Dunn nearly 50/50, with Dunn chipping in with nine rushes. Graham was targeted three times in the passing game, catching all three for a total of 27 yards.

RB Doug Martin

The former Boise St. star looked every bit the NFL running back he was predicted to be in his first start. Martin was a feature of the offense, playing all three downs and looking good doing it. His patience to let plays develop was quite something to behold; he always seemed to read his blocks efficiently and rarely lost yardage. He was difficult for the Panthersí defense to take down with his low centre of gravity, and he dove for additional yards on many occasions. On a wheel route, with LB Luke Kuechly in perfect coverage, Martin made a tremendous leaping catch and hung onto the ball for dear life. The Bucs ran both power and zone, both of which Martin looked comfortable in. Although he didnít get into the end zone, he came within inches. Had it not been for a brilliant goal line tackle by the Panthers, Martin would have tasted pay dirt. An injury to LeGarrette Blount meant Martin got many more carries in this game. Martin looks to be the bell cow of this offense and if Tampa Bay can continue to play it close to the vest and keep games within reach, Martin can have a great season.

RB Charles Sims

Sims saw his first action in the first quarter, relieving Martin for a 3rd and 7 play. He was used more as a passing-down back, recording 5 carries and 5 targets. One of his first targets of the day was intercepted on a halfback screen play on 3rd and 2. Sims might be worth owning as a Martin handcuff, but for no other reason than that.

WR Joey Galloway, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 5 - 97 - 0 (7 targets)

Galloway is known as a dependable receiver, and he showed why on Sunday as he came up with two big plays. He made an excellent catch on a ball thrown behind him for 30 yards to set up the first touchdown and made another 36 yard reception to set up a Matt Bryant field goal. He finished with 97 yards and seemed to be slightly favored by Griese when he needed a big play even though Clayton received more targets.

WR Michael Clayton, Rec: 4 - 57 - 0 (8 targets)

Clayton looked like he was ready to have another great year, as Griese started looking his way in the second quarter. He had one more target than Galloway so he could end up losing some receptions to Galloway who is also a viable option at receiver. His best play was a 41 yard reception after he spun off of his defender and ran down to the 16 yard line, which set up a Buccaneersí touchdown.

WR Ike Hilliard, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)

Hilliard was not much of a factor in the game and made one reception for a four yard gain.

WR Mike Evans

Evans impressed with his skill set in this game against the Panthers. He did a great job of releasing at the line of scrimmage. Often times, rookie receivers have difficulty beating the jam, however Evans is a very physical pass-catcher. He didnít have much trouble getting into his route. He seems to be a tad raw at running routes. On a hitch route that netted 7 yards in the second quarter, Evans didnít snap around as quickly as he should have. He still made the grab, but seemed very deliberate in his route running. Evans ran a bunch of different routes. The Bucs executed a bubble screen for Evans nicely that only ended up gaining six yards, but at one moment looked as though it could have been a long touchdown. He also caught a slant for a crucial first down in the fourth quarter when he used his massive frame to shield the defender while plucking the ball with his hands. Evans was targeted a team-high nine times in the game.

WR Adam Humphries

Humphries first target of the day was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, however, the blame for that falls on Jameis, who short-armed the pass right into the arms of a waiting defender. Humphries caught 2 of his 4 targets for minimal yardage, and probably won't even draw those few looks once Mike Evans returns.

WR Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson had a point to prove in his Tampa Bay debut, and he did it with aplomb. Jackson is the perfect receiver for Schianoís offense; he will be a terror to cover on short to intermediate routes and his big body can be used to outmuscle and outfight defenders for the football in tight windows. Josh Freeman showed his trust in his new toy several times throughout the game. Although Jackson dropped a catchable pass late in the game on a slant route, he had an impact throughout. He is also a willing and capable blocker, and he showed his talent there on several nice runs by Doug Martin. Jackson also had a long gain negated by a penalty and a long pass interference penalty committed against him. Jackson may not have the statistical upside in Tampa Bay that he had in San Diego, but his opportunity is there and Freeman clearly trusts him.

WR Louis Murphy

Murphy was targeted once in the first quarter on a pass that was wildly overthrown by Jameis Winston. It's pretty safe to say that Vincent Jackson is the only Bucs receiver worth consideration until Mike Evans returns.

WR Russell Shepard

Shepard did not see many snaps on offense, but did record one carry on a WR end-around in the 3rd quarter for a gain of 9 yards. He was not targeted in the passing game.

WR Cecil Shorts

Newly signed Cecil Shorts did not see any offensive snaps, but did field kickoffs(all of which were touchbacks).

WR Sammie Stroughter

Stroughter is exactly the dependable short and intermediate target we expected him to be. He got a red zone target where he was down just short of the goal line. He should have marginal PPR value if Bryant misses significant time.

TE Alex Smith, Rec: 4 - 34 - 2 (4 targets)

Alex Smith, the rookie tight end from Stanford, had a breakout game, and he looked like the red zone target for Brian Griese. He caught the first two touchdowns of the game, and his longest was a 23 yard touchdown. He didn't get many catches for big yards, but Brian Griese seemed to have plenty of confidence in him when looking for a touchdown.

TE Anthony Becht, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)

Anthony Becht only caught one pass and Alex Smith looked like the main target at tight end.

TE Cameron Brate

Brate always seems to show up big during 2 minute drills, and this week was no exception. The Bucs got the ball back with just under 2 minutes left in the first half, and Winston went to work, targeting Brate on three consecutive out routes, all completions for decent gains. He finished the day with receptions on 3 of 4 of his targets.

TE Brandon Myers

Myers had a large role in the Buccaneers offense in the week one tilt against the Panthers. Myers acted mainly as a safety valve. He was rarely the first read in Josh McCownís progression, however the Panthersí defender did an excellent job of locking down Jackson and Evans on many plays. Myers most run route looked to be an option route. He lined up in-line on the line of scrimmage. At the snap he would fight his way into his route and read the defender assigned to him. He often recognized zone and found a window to sit. This resulted in a few hitch-type routes for average gains. He did run outs and corner routes if he recognized man and needed to shake a defender. Overall, Myers provided a trustworthy safety net for McCown if his initial reads did not come open. Myers played 45 snaps, 25 more than Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who left the game due to injury.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Seferian-Jenkins made one catch on the day. Near midfield, he lined up in-line and broke off hard up the seam. He sat down on a hitch route about twelve yards. After making a leaping catch, he turned up field pinballing off defenders for 26 yards. Unfortunately for Seferian-Jenkins, he wasnít utilized often by the Buccaneers. Brandon Myers saw more targets and caught six passes to ASJís single reception. He played 20 snaps before leaving the game due to injury. It isnít yet known if he will miss much time.

TE Luke Stocker

Stocker could have brought the Bucs within a TD about a minute before Mike Williams did late in the fourth quarter, but he dropped a wide open pass with only open field ahead of him.

PK Matt Bryant 1 - 1 FG, 3 - 3 XP, 6 points

Matt Bryant made all of his kicks in this game, even though he didnít have many options, except for extra points. The field goal he made was 41 yards.

TB Rush Defense

It doesn't get much better than allowing the entire Minnesota Vikings team to rush for 33 yards and 19 of them came when Daunte Culpepper was scrambling out of the pocket. There were no holes to run through and the Vikings looked like they were wasting their time by running the ball up the middle 12 times for no gain. Simeon Rice tackled Culpepper from behind while he was on the run causing two fumbles from Culpepper that was recovered by Tampa Bay.

TB Pass Defense

The pass defense looked a little suspect even though they had three interceptions. There were two touchdowns thrown by Culpepper which were called back by penalties and they still allowed 233 passing yards. Brian Kelly had a big game with two of the three interceptions. Derrick Brooks had three tackles with an interception and Simeon Rice put pressure on Culpepper most of the game and had three tackles along with a sack.


QB Daunte Culpepper, Pass: 22 - 33 - 233 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0

Culpepper's first game without Randy Moss was a tough one. He didn't have a running game to help him, he threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles. He looked like he was having trouble with the new offense, and when he finally got on track, big plays were brought back because of penalties. He threw two touchdown passes to Jermaine Wiggins but both were brought back because of a questionable offensive pass interference call and a block in the back. He was able to move the ball on the Buccaneersí defense and still passed for 233 yards, but nothing went his way. The Vikings still had a chance to win the game, but Culpepper threw an interception that bounced off the hands of Moe Williams on a catchable pass. His third interception was at the end of the game when the Vikings were down by two scores, and he was taking chances down the field.

QB Brad Johnson

Johnson had a 7-2 record last year and again led the Vikings to victory. He hit five different receivers for gains of 20 yards or more, and Marcus Robinson converted one for a 20 yard touchdown. Johnson led the team down the field on the opening drive of the game, finding Troy Williamson for a 46 yard reception, the longest play of the night. Johnsonís receivers dropped some catchable balls so his yardage could have been significantly higher. He did not throw an interception in the game, but at least three of his passes were close to being picked off.

QB Teddy Bridgewater

Itís difficult to get a real handle on how Teddy Bridgewater has improved or regressed when the offensive line he is behind looks like it did against the San Francisco 49ers. John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt were missed terribly Monday night, as Joe Berger was constantly run over at center and rookie TJ Clemings managed to cause a sack at least once. This is not to remove any responsibility from Bridgewater, who made his own problems more than once, but it is to say that as we expected, this injury-plagued offensive line is hurting this offense. The constant pressure from all sides caused Bridgewater to fire off passes without setting his feet, although some of that was because he was on the run during virtually every play. Bridgewater also spent much of the game second-guessing himself and hesitating, such as on a 4th down play near the end of the first quarter. On the play, Bridgewater was forced out of the pocket again, and moved to his left where tight end Kyle Rudolph was wide open. Had he passed the ball right then, Rudolph has a good chance at a first down as the defense is playing too far off him. Instead, Bridegewater double-clutched before sending the ball to his tight end, giving the defense ample time to react and close on Rudolph, killing the play. Bridgewater had several balls sail on him, including a fourth quarter interception meant for Kyle Rudolph. Bridgewater was trying to drop the ball in between two defenders, but thatís a pass that canít be anything but perfect and it was far from it. On the plus side, there were several times when Bridgewater showed the quick thinking which often marked his play late last year, such as on a play early in the second quarter which was designed to go deep. However, Niner linebacker Navarro Bowman came through the line untouched. Bridgewater saw that happening and immediately dumped the ball to tight end Rhett Ellison for a short gain. Bridgewater continues to be a work in progress, but with the offensive line a mess, this season could be one where that work is slowed to a crawl.

QB Shaun Hill

We saw why the Vikings went out and sold their souls for Sam Bradford on Sunday, as Shaun Hill certainly didnít scare the Tennessee Titans defense one bit. That meant that the run game was stymied which made it harder for the offense to move the ball. Itís not that Hill was bad, because he wasnít. Hill lacks velocity on his throws and didnít seem to be able to stretch the field much either. Multiple times, Hill threw the ball at a defender and was lucky none of them went the other way. The first was on a 3rd and 5 early in the first quarter. The pass was meant for Stefan Diggs, but was thrown inside where the defender was. Another was late in the second quarter when he threw a ball down the middle where there was no receiver, and luckily the ball sailed over the defender as well. Hill didnít do horribly, but he didnít really make a case for himself as a long-term answer.

RB Michael Bennett, Rush: 6 - -1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)

The whole running game for the Vikings was atrocious, and the blocking didn't help the running backs. Bennett didn't have anywhere to run, and his best play was on a screen pass when he eluded two tacklers for a ten yard gain. He ended up with more receiving yards than rushing yards, but thatís not saying much since he ran for negative one yard. The Vikings only handed him the ball six times, but the good thing is that he did not incur any injuries.

RB Moe Williams, Rush: 6 - 15 - 0, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (3 targets)

Moe Williams had the second most rushing yards for the Vikingsí running backs, but that's not saying much because Bennett didn't have any positive rushing yards and Culpepper had more with 19 rushing yards. Williams best play was a screen play where he ran for 25 yards, but that was really the only thing he did for the entire game. To his credit, the Vikings fell behind and were passing the ball most of the game. The blocking up front was not good either.

RB Mewelde Moore

Moore only carried the ball twice and ended with minus one yard on the night. He was not targeted in the passing game and was used to return two punts.

RB Matt Asiata

Asiata was primarily used to return kicks, but was targeted once on a short pass.

RB Jerick McKinnon

McKinnon was on the field for just three snaps and got one carry on what amounted to a wedge play right up the middle on a 1st and 20. He ran hard but was buried immediately at the line.

RB Adrian Peterson (1 targets)

Peterson had the chance to be the primary ball carrier after Chester Taylor went down early in the game with an injury and did not return. Peterson displayed his great speed and power throughout the afternoon. He finished with 103 yards on 19 carries. Peterson was stopped for less than 3 yards on only four of his carries. Peterson consistently picked up chunks of 4, 5, 6 yards at a time, dragging defenders with him for extra yards. On his touchdown reception, he almost dropped the ball, having to reach behind him to pull the ball in with one hand. Once the ball was secured, Peterson turned on the speed and ran past defenders for 60 yards to the end zone. Adrian Peterson also played on special teams returning kicks, returning one for 22 yards.

WR Nate Burleson, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (8 targets)

Burleson did not live up to the expectations of Randy Moss type numbers on Sunday. Culpepper didn't look his way early and when he did, Culpepper couldn't hit him in stride. One of Culpepper's interceptions looked like it came from an incorrect route run by Burleson early in the game. Culpepper spread the ball almost evenly between seven receiving options, and even though Burleson lead the team in receiving yards with 45 yards and eight targets, he looked lost in the mix. Burleson's longest catch was for 20 yards but it was nothing spectacular.

WR Travis Taylor, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (4 targets)

Travis Taylor made a nice catch for 25 yards, but he seemed lost in the mix with all the different receiving options.

WR Marcus Robinson, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)

Robinson's longest catch was for 14 yards, but he didn't make his presence known for the rest of the game. Culpepper's rough day didn't help Robinson put up fantasy numbers, but he didn't look like one of the top targets for the Culpepper because of all the different options.

WR Troy Williamson (11 targets)

Williamson was Johnsonís favorite target in the passing game with 11 targets. He caught a 12 yard pass on third and nine on the opening drive, before making a 46 yard reception on third and seven. He gained 15 yards after the catch on the 46 yard play and it was the longest from scrimmage in the game. Williamson allowed a pass to go straight through his hands on the next drive and it might easily have gone for another touchdown had he held on. He dropped another pass on the Vikingsí fourth possession before making a nine yard catch for a first down which was negated by a penalty. Johnson looked for him deep at the end of the first half but the ball was uncatchable. Johnson then threw deep into triple coverage on the Vikingsí opening drive of the second half. The ball should have been picked off. Williamson was hit on the helmet by one pass as he tried to come back to make the catch. On the Vikingsí last scoring drive, Williamson evaded a tackle and made a 13 yard reception, and then drew a penalty when Sean Taylor grabbed his face mask. Williamson was also used to return kicks, averaging 24.5 yards on four returns.

WR Devin Aromashodu

Aromashodu did a great job catching the meager amount of balls thrown his way, each one for a significant gain. He was not, however, a big part of the offense and looks as if he will remain an occasionl weapon and no more.

WR Stefon Diggs

While Diggs was the top target for Shaun Hill, we donít know for sure if Sam Bradford will see it the same way. That said, Diggs certainly will have caught Bradfordís attention with his play against the Titans. Diggs made some big catches, extending drives and converting third downs throughout the game. He was getting open at will and Bradford should rely on him if he is rational. The Vikings did a good job of moving him around to get releases from different spots on the line. Diggs consistently came back to the ball and played like a quarterback's best friend.

WR Charles Johnson

With the Vikings struggling to get any offense going, Charles Johnson got the short end of the stick Monday night, as he had a hard time getting open at the same time quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was able to have time to throw. As that was the case, Johnson had a poor outing. He did almost make a nice catch along the sideline on his first target. On the play, Bridgewater threw the ball up and Johnson leapt up to grab it. The defender made a nice play though, deflecting the ball just as it arrived. Johnson was tied with Adrian Peterson for fourth in targets, a far cry from what some thought he was poised to do.

WR Greg Lewis

When all else failed, Lewis made an appearance in the 4th quarter and snagged one ball for 12 yards. Both Lewis and Camarillo entered the game late after the Vikings primary receivers failed to deliver. Favre appeared more confident with Lewis and Camarillo than he did with Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian on the outside. This may be something to monitor going forward as the season progresses.

WR Cordarrelle Patterson

The lack of snaps for Patterson was a bit of a head,scratcher, though it may have been that the rookie was still dealing with a back issue from earlier in the week. After moving up in the 2013 NFL draft, Patterson saw the field for just five snaps, including two kick returns. One wonders why that was,three offensive snaps seems a tiny amount for a guy they moved up for, with his skill,set. Does he not know the playbook? Is he still too raw? It's hard to say without being in the locker room. Patterson's one reception was an excellent example of what fans are hoping for though. On the play, Patterson ran a screen out to the left of the formation and was wide open for Christian Ponder's pass. Patterson turned upfield, slipped a pair of defenders and then fought his way to the first down marker. Patterson has the skillset to replace what former Viking and current Seattle Seahawk Percy Harvin did for the offense,take a short pass and generate yards afterwards. It will be interesting to see if,and how,they utilize him in the coming weeks.

WR Adam Thielen

This week, Adam Thielen got work as the third wide receiver for the Vikings, and did a good job hauling in most of his targets. He was consistent with his hands and routes and did a nice job on one third down conversion late in the game.

WR Jarius Wright

Wright didn't get much work, relegated to fourth fiddle behind Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings and tight end Kyle Rudolph, many of which also had quiet days. Wright didn't have much luck getting open and was the target of a pass which was behind him and should have been picked off as well. Wright showed some skill and ability last season, but it's hard to see him getting a lot of snaps, especially as rookie Cordarrelle Patterson gets healthy and up to speed.

TE Jim Kleinsasser, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (5 targets)

Kleinsasser made an important third down catch to put the Vikings in scoring position late in the game only to fumble the ball, but it was luckily recovered by the Vikings. He did put up 42 receiving yards, but Jermaine Wiggins established himself as the better fantasy tight end.

TE Jermaine Wiggins, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (10 targets)

Jermaine Wiggins had as big of a game as you can have without scoring barely any fantasy points. He caught two touchdown passes from Daunte Culpepper which were both nullified by penalties. Culpepper was throwing his way the entire game and when Culpepper was in trouble he looked to throw the ball to Wiggins. He was definitely Culpepper's go-to-guy with 10 targets.

TE Rhett Ellison

The H-back lined up in a few places during his minimal snaps and made a really nice catch on a screen in the fourth quarter. Ellison scooted out to the flat, caught the ball and turned upfield. He barreled through several tacklers, showing good determination and strength as he broke tackles on his way to a 22-yard gain.

TE Kyle Rudolph

There has been some buzz about Rudolph this off-season, especially about the chemistry he and Christian Ponder have been working to build. Ponder looked for all day-he threw to him short (which Rudolph was able to turn into a long gain), he threw to him deep (which set up a field goal) and Rudolph did a great job of using his size, speed and hands to overcome coverage. Itís too early to be definitive but it looks as though Rudolph is on his way to being a big factor in this offense going forward.

PK Paul Edinger 2 - 2 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 7 points

After winning the kicking job in preseason, Edinger looked impressive in his first game as a Viking. He made a 53 yard field goal look routine and added another 22 yard field goal to go along with an extra point.

MIN Rush Defense

The Vikings' rush defense looked decent at the beginning of the game holding Carnell Williams to short three yard runs. But he quickly wore them down turning those runs into four and five yard runs and finally ending the Vikingsí chances of winning the game with a 71 yard touchdown run. It's probably not a good sign for the rush defense when defensive back Darren Sharper led the team in tackles with seven.

MIN Pass Defense

The pass defense looked strong at the beginning of the game when Darren Sharper returned an interception for a touchdown and Griese threw another one shortly after to Fred Smoot at the sideline. After that, they seemed to fall apart as Griese seemed to be a different quarterback throwing for 213 yards and two touchdowns.




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