It's a Thursday night special from the Metrodome as the Vikings take on their former foes from the old NFC Central Division, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Thursday night football? While some love it, others -- like GamedayGold's Eric Nelson, find it a bit odd. In his words: "Thursday night games on a weekly basis just is not natural...."
In the next few hours, we'll track what's happening during the game -- as well as in cyberspace -- as the Vikings hope to moveto 5-0 at home and 6-2 on the year. If so, that's a team that is on track to be 12-4, on its way to the playoffs -- and a championship?
Stop laughing. Why, just 25 years ago tonight -- in the very same Metrodome -- another plucky team beat the odds and won it all: the 1987 Minnesota Twins. Sure, it's midweek football night, but take a gander at this YouTube video and try to wipe that stupid grin off your face afterwards. Impossible...
7:11 p.m.: Brainy Tweets already coming in:
7:18 p.m.: Jittery picture on KARE-11 is giving home viewers migranes. KARE-11 throws Comcast under bus, saying it's having a problem converting NFL Network's HD signal. Possible solution: Everyone in viewing area gets $50 off Comcast bill this month. Just an idea.
7:24: Jittery picture fixed. Dang. Have to pay Comcast full freight this month.
7:27: Bucs win toss, but defer to second half...so Vikes get the ball first.
7:30: Purple start at 20...no return.
7:32: Three and out. Ugly start for Ponder and Co., but AP gains eight yards, and this:
7:36: TB goes three and out as well. This is the "feeling out period," as they say in the biz..
7:39: Another three and out for Vikes, and then a bad Kluwe punt. Boo birds inside dome get an early workout. Dipping into our cliche bag, "This one is about field position so far...."
7:43: Doug Martin races down the sidelines for a 41-yard gain, Chris Cook makes TD-saving tackle at the 17-yard-line.
7:45: KARE-11 has remaining technical issue (Spanish announcers in background). Our question: Donde esta Vikings offense?
7:47: BUCCANEERS 3, VIKINGS 0 -- Connor Barth hits hits 28-yard FG to give Bucs early lead.
7:53: Another three and out for Christian Ponder. Nothing going right tonight:
7:56: Vincent Jackson makes dandy catch at Vikes' 22, Tampa in business again.
8:01: BUCCANEERS 10, VIKINGS 0 -- 1-yard TD pass to Eric Lorig. Gulp.
8:07: Jerome Simpson fumbles. Tampa recovers. Big gulp.
8:14: Bucs back in red zone again. A blowout in the dome tonight?
8:16: BUCCANEERS 13, VIKINGS 0 -- Barth hits another FG, this one from 40-yards out.
8:18: Natives restless. Twitterverse skewering Purple. Facts troubling:
8:23: Vikes finally in business. In red zone for first time tonight.
8:24: BUCCANEERS 13, VIKINGS 7 -- Ponder connects with Harvin from 18-yards out. Touchdown.
8:31: Vikes stop Bucs, get ball back. Momentum shifting?
8:34: Big third and six from their own 17. Huge down for Purple. Ponder to Harvin. First down at the 29.
8:35: AP fumbles. Bucs ball. Momentum shifts to team from Florida's Gulf Coast.
8:37: BUCCANEERS 20, VIKINGS 7 -- Bucs strike again, as Mike Williams catches a 3-yard TD pass from Freeman.
8:48: Vikings trying to put something together, and Jerome Simpson catches one for a 33-yard gain. Pretty. Vikes threatening at two-minute warning on the Bucs' 37.
8:53: Third and six from Bucs 33. Incomplete.
8:56: BUCCANEERS 20, VIKINGS 10 -- Blair Walsh hits 51-yard field goal.
9:01: First half ends. State of Minnesota switches over to see what's happening with Game 2 of the World Series.
9:05: Stat of the game so far (other than those two lost fumbles), Bucs RB Doug Martin has 106 yards on 14 carries.
9:08: A deserving Matt Blair inducted into Vikes Ring of Honor. Give him some pads and a helmet. Purple seems to need him tonight.
9:09: Mr. Kriesel is your leader in Twitter-of-the-night contest:
9:16: Chris Cook comes off field, holding his arm. Doesn't look good.
9:18: BUCCANEERS 27, VIKINGS 10 -- Martin rumbles 64 yards on screen from Freeman. Wheels coming off.
9:23: Vikes can't get anything going on next possession. Kluwe punts, Bucs in good field position again at their 42.
9:27: Doug Martin killing Purple as he rumbles for a 9-yard run, into Vikings territory.
9:30: BUCCANEERS 30, VIKINGS 10 -- Barth hits a 38-yarder to give Bucs a 20-point lead.
9:36: That stuff we said before the game, about the Vikings getting some magic from the Twins 25 years later? Never mind!
9:37: BUCCANEERS 30, VIKINGS 17 -- AP goes 64-yards to the house. Huge.
9:41: With that run, Peterson eclipses the 100-yard mark, his 30th in his career, passing Robert Smith's 29.
9:42: Defense finally stops Martin in backfield, setting up a third and 10. Bucs get seven, and forced to punt.
9:47: Three and out by Purple offense. Kluwe punts, Bucs take over at their 30.
9:50: Jared Allen and Donald Penn scrap. Offsetting personal fouls, but Penn should have been ejected for swinging at a helmet-less Allen.
9:52: Allen sacks Freeman. Wow! Crowd in absolute lather as Tampa has to punt.
9:55: Tampa defense takes crowd out of it with a Ponder sack as Vikes can't get it going.
10:03: Fourth quarter starts, and Bucs offense continues to churn with first down at their 37.
10:06: Big holding call against Tampa at midfield. Third and 10, with 11:19 left. Freeman hits Williams again. Tampa in charge at the Minnesota 17-yard line. Dome deflated once again.
10:15: BUCCANEERS 36, VIKINGS 17 -- Doug Martin touchdown from the 1-yard-line. 2-point conversion no good. Game.
10:23: It's garbage time for the Vikings offense as Minnesota gets down to the Tampa 25.
10:27: On 4th and 7, airball from Christian as he's hit. Bucs take over on downs.
10:45: Victory formation for the team from Tampa Bay.
10:50: FINAL: BUCCANEERS 36, VIKINGS 17 -- Minnesota drops first one at home, fall to 5-3.