Watch Thursday Night Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs Minnesota Vikings Live Stream. The Minnesota Vikings' passing attack was awful last Sunday, but Adrian Peterson and the defense did enough to compensate in the win.
The star running back tries to lead the Vikings to their first 5-0 home start since 2009 on Thursday night against a Buccaneers team that's dropped nine straight on the road since its last trip to Minneapolis.
With Christian Ponder throwing for a season-low 58 yards and getting intercepted twice for the third consecutive week, Minnesota (5-2) totaled a season-low 209 yards in last Sunday's 21-14 victory over Arizona. The Vikings had just two first downs outside their two first-half touchdown drives and punted five consecutive times in the second half following rookie Harrison Smith's 31-yard interception return for a score.
However, Peterson ran for a season-high 153 yards and a touchdown, and the defense registered seven sacks to lift its season total to 22 - tied for third in the league.
Ponder has connected with Percy Harvin 53 times and tight end Kyle Rudolph already has five TDs, but the team is 27th in the league in passing with 203.4 yards per game. The Vikings, though, are off to their best start since opening 6-1 in 2009 thanks to Petersen spearheading a running attack that's seventh in the NFL (132.3 ypg) and a defense ranked ninth at 319.7 yards allowed per contest.
"You want to be able to throw the ball as well as run the ball effectively, but there are times where something is being taken away you have to be good in other areas," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Fortunately for us, we're at a point as a team where we can make up for deficiencies in other areas."
Many thought the running game would be a weakness with Peterson just 10 months removed from a torn ACL and MCL, but the four-time All-Pro back is tied for third with 652 yards - seven behind league-leader Arian Foster.
"We're definitely relying on our run game, and that's not a bad thing," Frazier said.
Peterson, who ran for 120 yards and two scores in last year's 24-20 home loss to Tampa Bay, could set a Vikings record with a 30th 100-yard rushing game.
"Peterson is as good as they get," Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said. "… He runs with an attitude. We need to play run defense with an attitude. We have and we will."
Tampa Bay's run defense is third-best in the league, allowing 76.0 yards per game. However, the club is 31st in passing defense (323.0 ypg) after yielding 377 in last Sunday's 35-28 loss to New Orleans.
The Buccaneers (2-4) couldn't hold on to a 21-7 first-half lead as they failed to score in two second-half red-zone opportunities, but the offense is showing some positive signs behind quarterback Josh Freeman.
Watch Thursday Night Football Live Stream Online. Thursday Night Football is the brand name used by NFL Network for its schedule of live regular season telecasts of National Football League games on Thursday nights. While "Thursday Night Football" doesn't have the same flare and history as the games on Sunday or Monday nights, it has still made the world of fantasy football interesting.
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First-year head coach Greg Schiano has his Bucs playing hard, and bum-rushing their opponents on the last play of each and every game. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings have been overachieving this season.
This is one of the more underrated TNF showdowns of 2012. Look for an intriguing matchup to develop between Minnesota's Top-10 rushing attack and Tampa's Top-Five run defense.
Expect lots of sound from the raucous crowd at Mall of America Field trapped inside the dome, but also prepare yourself for a competitive showdown that won't put you to sleep by halftime.
With waiver claims being approved or denied on Wednesday in Yahoo! leagues, fantasy GM's need to think ahead to ensure they have a solid lineup in place for these Thursday night games. Through two weeks, who has had the best fantasy performances in Thursday's NFL Network games?