Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 key reasons the Vikings will win.” This week the Vikings hope to shake off another disappointment as they face a familiar face when they go against Tampa Bay and former head coach Leslie Frazier.
For 5 key reasons the Vikings should be worried, click here.
5. Everson is sacking everyone
If that's true then someone better put Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon on notice. Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had three sacks last week against Buffalo, upping his sack total to seven for the season.
Griffen has moved into a tie for second in the NFL in sacks and he has his eyes set straight on Tampa Bay.
Sunday the Vikings will face their former head coach, Leslie Frazier. He is the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers on Lovie Smith's staff.
"I was with coach Frazier for four years, he's a great dude and taught me a lot of things, and now he's with Tampa and our whole purpose is to go out there and beat him," Griffen told reporters. "Every game means a lot, but when you face your former coach it's a little more exciting."
4. Vikings defense has been stepping up
It's not just Griffen's efforts that have been noticed. The whole Vikings defense seems to have taken a big step forward in each of the last two games.
It was a momentary lapse at the end that cost them last week's game against Buffalo.
The Vikings sacked Kyle Orton six times and – outside of one big run by C.J. Spiller – limited Buffalo's running game on Sunday. They also held the Bills to 10 points on their first 11 possessions and forced four turnovers.
A similar effort against Detroit allowed the Vikings to stay in the game against the Lions despite three interceptions from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
According to 1500 ESPN's Andrew Krammer, much of the credit around the improved defense should go to coach Mike Zimmer.
"It began with Zimmer weeding out some of the veterans this offseason: Fred Evans, Jamarca Sanford and even one of his own in Chris Crocker.
Zimmer's coverage schemes have put his secondary in more advantageous spots than last year as the Vikings' six interceptions from defensive backs ties their total from 2013."
Krammer also notes that Zimmer moved Josh Robinson from the slot, and the much maligned defensive back has responded by intercepting two passes and only allowing 41 yards after the catch. According to Pro Football Focus, that ranks third among all cornerbacks in the NFL.
3. Adrian who? McKinnon makes name for himself
OK it might not be quite to that point yet, but Vikings rookie running back Jerick McKinnon is making a name for himself after a couple of big weeks.
McKinnon (seen above, courtesy of Vikings.com) has beaten out Matt Asiata atop the Vikings backfield depth chart and, as the Associated Press notes, he has topped the 100-yard rushing mark twice in the past four weeks.
He has also established himself as a reliable target out of the backfield. McKinnon had six catches for 42 yards in Minnesota's 17-3 loss to Detroit a couple of weeks ago.
2. Frazier's defense falling flat in Tampa
After going up against two of the best defenses in the NFL the last two weeks, the Vikings won't have to worry as much when they play Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The Buccaneers defense comes into Sunday's game against Minnesota as the 32nd ranked defense in yardage, and they're giving up 34 points per game (most in the NFL).
While Frazier's defense has struggled, the Pioneer Press report he is confident, as they are healthy and coming off a bye week.
"You'd like to be able to find a way to rattle a young quarterback as much as you can," Frazier said.
But Rant Sports points out that Tampa Bay doesn't have much of a pass rush.
1. A better matchup for Teddy
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner told reporters that Teddy Bridgewater will be a work in progress. Bridgewater was outstanding in his first professional start against Atlanta throwing for more than 300 yards and leading the Vikings to a 41-28 win over the Falcons, but has struggled in his two starts since.
He has been sacked 13 times in those two games and has thrown just one touchdown – compared to five interceptions.
Rant Sports predicts that Bridgewater will double that career touchdown total on Sunday alone against Tampa Bay's porous secondary.
The Viking Age broke down just how bad the Buccaneers have been against the pass.
"Two weeks ago, Joe Flacco went for 306 yards and 5 TDs on 21-of-29 passing in leading the Ravens to a 48-17 victory.
Three weeks ago, Drew Brees went for 371 and 2 TDs though he did get picked off twice. Tampa gave up 37 points in an overtime loss, blowing an 11-point lead along the way.
In week 3, Matt Ryan and the Falcons laid 56 points on Leslie Frazier's unit, with Ryan throwing for 286 yards and 3 TDs on 21-of-24 passing."
In only six games this season the Buccaneers are at minus-84 in point differential, losing games on average by two touchdowns.
After facing two of the league's best defenses, things should be a little easier for Bridgewater on Sunday.