Cloud Hangs over Vikings 1st Opponent

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The Minnesota Vikings get down to regular season business this Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a Week 1 showdown.

Most NFL experts perceive the Buccaneers to live in the NFL’s bottom bowl of power rankings, and the Vikings are six-point favorites to prevail.

Cloud Hangs over Vikings 1st Opponent

And an indefinite cloud lingers over Tampa Bay’s operations, at least with the season five days away — Mike Evans’ contract situation.

Cloud Hangs
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Four days ago, reporter Rick Stroud tweeted about the wide receiver’s contract, “Mike Evans agent Deryk Gilmore says they are giving the Bucs until the start of the regular season to ‘make him a Buc for life.'”

So, that’s a deadline proposed by one of the NFL’s Top 25 WRs in league history. Tampa Bay may be amid a transformational year — trying to determine if quarterback Baker Mayfield is indeed the future — while one of the best players in its history is dictating terms.

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Then on Monday, NFL insider Josina Anderson updated the mini-saga when asked if Evans could be traded, “I don’t think that’s currently the vibe. Obviously all situations are fluid. Today was about Illuminating that ‘over the course’ of discussions between both sides, the Bucs received a contract structure that Mike Evans would accept. No one said that submission was recent.”

NFL fans and media ran wild with the Evans tidbits over the weekend, speculating trade destinations if the Buccaneers couldn’t meet his alleged request.

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Evans’ agent, Deryk Gilmore, also said about his client’s wishes last week, “Despite our efforts over the past two years, and the professionalism of Bucs general manager Jason Licht and assistant general manager Mike Greenberg, we have not received an offer to stay in Tampa.”

“When you have a player that will be a Hall of Famer and still has four to six more years to make an impact on the league, you move heaven and earth to keep him on your team, and we would hope ownership feels the same way.”

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Evans’ status for Week 1 doesn’t sound like it’s in jeopardy, but his long-term prognosis in the NFC South is in flux, especially if the Buccaneers brass doesn’t meet the September 9th deadline — one day before Evans and his teammates play the Vikings.

The veteran wideout has notched 1,000+ receiving yards every season since 2014, his rookie year, one of the most impressive active streaks in the business.

Evans turned 30 about two weeks ago.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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