Critical Vikings Mistakes Cost Them in Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay

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The Minnesota Vikings got their 2023 regular season started by playing host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.

Minnesota ended up shooting themselves in the foot multiple times throughout the game. Despite moving the ball very easily in the first half, the Vikings mistakes cost them Week 1, and they fell to Tampa Bay by a score of 20-17.

Vikings Mistakes Cost Them Week 1 vs. Bucs

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Minnesota and Tampa Bay both got off to sluggish starts offensively, trading punts on their first drives. The Vikings then proceeded to move the ball easily on their second drive, with the catalyst being a 30-yard connection between Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. However, shortly after, Ed Ingram inadvertently slapped a snap out of center Austin Schlottmann’s hands, and Tampa Bay recovered the fumble.

Schlottmann entered the game because of an injury to Garrett Bradbury. The concerning part of Bradbury’s injury was that it was described as a back injury, potentially indicating a flareup of the injury that limited him down the stretch of the 2022 season. Christian Darrisaw also exited the game for some time with an injury, but he would later return.

Despite the injuries, mistakes were the story of the afternoon for Minnesota. Despite a monstrous first half from Jefferson that included 7 catches and 138 receiving yards, three turnovers from the Vikings, including a red zone interception from Cousins, limited their ability to score.

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Tampa Bay would break through in the scoring department first on a Chase McLaughlin 36-yard field goal. This was the direct result of a strip sack of Cousins on Minnesota’s 21-yard line.

The Vikings would later get onthe scoreboard with a 39-yard touchdown to Jordan Addison, the first of his career. In the rookie wide receiver’s NFL debut, he 4 catches for 61 yards and the TD. Following a Greg Joseph field goal and a TD pass from Baker Mayfield to Mike Evans, the two teams entered halftime tied 10-10.

Vikings Mistakes
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The second half began with a masterful 16-play drive from Tampa Bay in which the Buccaneers offense surgically tore through Brian Flores’ defense. Nearly nine minutes into the third quarter, Mayfield hit rookie wide receiver Trey Palmer for a 7-yard TD.

Minnesota would follow up Tampa’s long drive with a 16-play TD drive of their own that wore into the fourth quarter. To finish that drive, Cousins would connect with Alexander Mattison on a 4-yard TD pass. Mattison finished his day with 11 carries for only 34 yards along with 3 receptions for 10 yards.

That would be about all the offense that the Vikings would muster in the second half, though. They would punt on their final two drives of the game. Meanwhile, McLaughlin was money for Tampa Bay on a 57-yard field goal with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. This gave us our final score of 20-17.

After Minnesota’s final punt, Mayfield was able to lead a 10-play drive to finish the game that allowed the Buccaneers to run out the last few minutes of the clock.

The Vikings have dug themselves into a hole to begin the year at 0-1. Now, they must go on the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.