Vikings Week 1 Opponent Puts League on Notice

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp for the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 campaign begins with rookies reporting on Sunday, July 23rd, and the remaining players reporting on Tuesday, July 25th. After seven weeks of rigorous preparation at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota, the Vikings face a challenging Week 1 matchup, despite some individuals’ expectations. It’s worth noting that a defender from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is frustrated with the lack of respect his team is receiving nationwide.

Vikings Week 1 Opponent Puts League on Notice

Vikings Week 1 Opponent Puts League on Notice
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The big theme in Tampa Bay, of course, is the retirement of Tom Brady, the greatest football player ever. No team can be the same after his departure. Most folks expect Tampa’s downfall into irrelevance after making the postseason in all three seasons with Brady under center but cornerback Carlton Davis doesn’t think so and warns the NFL via Go Long.

“We’re about to do it to ’em. Anybody who feels we’ve lost Tom — and lost something — is going to be in for a rude awakening. A rude awakening. Tom was a great addition for us, but obviously, it’s a team sport. Obviously, you need components to be successful. We still have those components. And I’m only getting better.”

The team went 8-8 with Jameis Winston at QB before Brady joined the team and immediately used his superpowers to win the Super Bowl. Baker Mayfield is now expected to start against the Vikes in Week 1, a player who is closer to Winston than Brady.

Brady still passed for 4,694 yards, 25 TDs, and only 9 INTs in what was considered a down year for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer. Mayfield has thrown for a total of 27 TDs and 21 INTs in the last two seasons for three different teams.

Vikings Start 2023
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

However, Davis is right about something. There are still many excellent players on that roster. Mayfield will throw to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin with Tristan Wirfs protecting him while the majority of the strong defensive unit returns. Davis raved about his defense: “We’re going to wreck s—. Like, wreck s—. Interceptions. Turnovers. Plays will be made. I will say. Plays. Will. Be. Made.”

The Buccaneers were not a good team last season but for some reason, were able to play extremely well in the clutch, another one of Brady’s superpowers. That was enough for an 8-9 record which clinched them the division. The NFC South was easily the worst division in the NFL in 2022. Tampa Bay got blown out by the Cowboys in their home playoff game in the wild-card round. Davis expects the division to be bad once again. “And our f——g division is worse than what it was before. So, we run through the division. Get to the playoffs. Run through the playoffs and it’s the Super Bowl.”

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers have a win total prediction of 6.5 at most sportsbooks. It is a longshot that the Buccaneers can make a serious run in the upcoming season but it is the NFL, so nothing should ever be ruled out.

For the Vikings, their Week 1 matchup doesn’t appear to be the picnic some fans are expecting. Davis and his teammates clearly believe in themselves and will have a chip on their shoulders once they see their betting odds. Still, the Vikings are favored by almost a touchdown and absolutely need to win the game as the following opponents will not be easy.

Kevin O’Connell’s new-looking team will face the Eagles next and an 0-2 start would put them at a huge disadvantage. In Week 3, the Chargers come to town, followed by a road game against Adam Thielen’s Panthers. The Chiefs come to Minneapolis in Week 5.

Tampa Bay’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium will be a noon game on September 10th.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt