Vikings vs. Buccaneers — According to Madden 24

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Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) and the team leave the field after a turnover against the Chicago Bears near the end of the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are set to kick off their second season with Kevin O’Connell at the helm. Following a 13-4 record in 2022, Kirk Cousins and company will look for another NFC North-winning campaign. Before the real action starts at U.S. Bank Stadium, here’s how Madden 24 sees the contest playing out.

Vikings vs. Buccaneers — According to Madden 24

Tampa Bay comes to Minnesota boasting a very strong defense anchored by fan-favorite Antoine Winfield Jr. The former Golden Gophers safety will look to make his mark on a game played in front of a special crowd. No longer employing Tom Brady, the Buccaneers are beginning a season with Baker Mayfield under center. Todd Bowles is a veteran head coach looking to start things off with a strong performance.

According to Madden
Aug 11, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense return plenty of playmakers from a unit that was already impressive a season ago. What Justin Jefferson does for an encore after looking to challenge Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yardage record will be plenty worth tuning into. Alexander Mattison is the new starting running back, T.J. Hockenson has a year of familiarity, and rookie Jordan Addison is ready to make his mark.

Kickoff off the 2023 season, Minnesota sent the ball to Tampa Bay for the opening possession. After holding strong on defense, the Vikings put the first points on the board with a Greg Joseph field goal. The lead didn’t hold long, however, as former Gophers tight end Ko Kieft wrangled in a one-yard touchdown reception from Mayfield just before the first quarter expired.

The second quarter was the busiest of the game, with 27 points being scored between the two sides. Addison wasted no time getting his first career touchdown on a three-yard fade from Cousins. Just a few minutes later, Mattison found paydirt for the first time as the unquestioned lead back, and the Vikings found themselves holding onto a 17-7 lead.

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Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) takes the field during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Buccaneers kicker Chase McLaughlin brought Tampa back within a possession when he banged home a 55-yard kick, but the Vikings had an answer. Scoring their third touchdown of the quarter, the newly extended Hockenson hauled in a touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in the half. A coverage breakdown on the ensuing kickoff set up another McLaughlin field goal, this one from 47 yards with just three seconds left. At the break, Minnesota was up 24-13.

Both sides came out of the locker room slowly. After an explosive second quarter, only a Joseph field goal was recorded in the third quarter. Up 27-13, Minnesota looked to have this one in hand. Making things interesting, Mayfield pushed Tampa down the field for two separate scoring drives. The first was capped off with a Rachaad White touchdown before Cade Otton scored with only 1:11 left in the game.

Having seen their lead disappear, the Vikings responded with a fast drive to give Joseph a chance. He banged home a 40-yard field goal as time expired. With the 30-27 win, Minnesota was off to a 1-0 start on the season.

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) reacts after a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns on 36 passes. Mattison was the only back to log a carry for the Vikings, and he turned 15 touches into 72 yards and the touchdown. Although he didn’t get into the end zone, Jefferson grabbed six passes for 73 yards. Hockenson led the Vikings in receiving with 77 yards, and Addison put up 53 in his debut.

Minnesota’s defense held Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to just 113 combined yards. White only posted 57 yards on the ground, and Mayfield needed 38 attempts to generate 273 yards. Shaquil Barrett got Cousins twice, but Harrison Phillips and Danielle Hunter brought down Mayfield.

Check back next week to see what Madden has predicts for Week 2 in Philadelphia.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.