In an old fashioned NFC Central battle in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers once again proved their worth to the rest of the NFC South, outlasting old rival Minnesota 19-13 at Raymond James Stadium. Matt Bryant kicked four field goals, including two in the final 5:36 for the margin of victory. The Bucs D stepped up on the final Minnesota drive as Chester Taylor fumbled after an 11-yard gain that Ronde Barber recovered to preserve the win.
The Vikings offense was held in check for most of the day, putting up just 210 total yards and 12 first downs. Adrian Peterson was held to 85 yards on 19 carries, and Gus Frerotte was held to 14 completions and 13 yards with one TD. The Bucs offense was paced by Jeff Garcia, who had 255 yards on 23-for-33 passing.
Earnest Graham, who was banged up entering the game, carried just once for three yards, giving way to Warrick Dunn, who had 20 carries for 53 yards. Overall the Bucs had 363 yards of offense and 18 first downs against a Vikings defense that made life tough last week on the Packers.
The Vikings built a 10-3 lead after a Ryan Longwell 43-yard field goal in the first quarter, then a Frerotte to Bobby Wade four-yard score at the 13:33 mark of the second quarter to give the Vikings the 7-point lead. The two teams traded field goals to make it 13-6 Minnesota at the half.
The Bucs came back on their best drive of the game, an 11-play, 80-yard drive to start the third quarter that ended with B.J. Askew going in from a yard out to make it 13-13. The Bucs D did their part, which gave the offense a shot to chip away with two big drives that resulted in the two field goals that were the difference in the end.
The win puts Tampa Bay at 7-3 on the season. Next week they travel to Detroit to play the Lions. The 5-5 Vikings will play at Jacksonville next Sunday.