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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Some historical moments in Bucs-Vikings series

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Photo by Icon Sportswire

(Here’s another unique look, this time at Bucs-Vikings, from noted Buccaneers historian Paul Stewart of BucPower.com in London. Enjoy!)

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The all-time series with the Vikings currently stands 32-22 in favour of Minnesota. The two teams used to meet twice a season as part of the original NFC Central Division schedule but the re-structuring of the NFL for the 2002 season reduced the number of meeting to that of a regular NFC non-division opponent.

The Bucs had won six in a row until the Vikings were victorious in the last meeting in 2014. The two teams also met for the first time in pre-season play in 2015, a game also won by Minnesota.

 

25 November 1979
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22 Minnesota Vikings 23

With a chance to clinch a playoff berth, the old Bucs returned to haunt the 1979 version as they managed to miss three short kicks including two extra points, and a punt, in losing by a single point to division rival Minnesota. The Bucs gained 425 yards in offense, their most ever, and Ricky Bell went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark but it was all to no avail.

The Tampa authorities had greased the goal-posts in potential anticipation of a crowd invasion similar to the one seen in the 1977 season finale but John McKay’s 9-3 team failed to take advantage of their first chance to secure their first division title. The Bucs would go on to lose two further games before defeating the Chiefs in the season finale.

“I’m disappointed in that we let a great opportunity get away from us today,” said DE Lee Roy Selmon. It would only be a temporary setback for what would wind up being seen as one of the most memorable seasons in franchise history.

16 December 1990
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 Minnesota Vikings 13
http://www.bucpower.com/1990game14.html

The first year of bye weeks in the NFL saw the 1990 Buccaneers have a week off before their final three games of a 6-10 season. They celebrated by firing head coach Ray Perkins allowing interim Richard Williamson to take over on the sidelines for the arrival of the Vikings for a nationally-televised Sunday night game.

The apparent euphoria at the removal of the disciplinarian Perkins saw the Bucs play with a new-found freedom including QB Vinny Testaverde who posted a 100-yard rushing game (yes rushing) including a 48-yard scoring run during the first quarter.

The Bucs were 23-0 up at half-time and took advantage of no less than eight Minnesota turnovers to record their final victory of the 1990 season as the following two weeks saw disapointing losses to the Bears and Jets.

29 October 2000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41 Minnesota Vikings 13
http://www.bucpower.com/2000game8.html

It always used to work – whenever the Buccaneers were struggling, bring the Vikings to Raymond James Stadium. This 27-point hammering of Minnesota was followed by a similar result almost 12 months the year later. Tony Dungy really had his old team’s number late in his Buccaneer coaching career.

This was the Buc offense at its best with four Shaun King touchdowns and a 31-13 half-time lead. “It’s been so long since we had a win, it just cures so many things” safety John Lynch said. It also ended the Vikings’ hope of a perfect season once again, their 15-1 mark in 1998 only being blemished by a loss to the Bucs in Tampa.

LB Derrick Brooks had an interception return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter, at the time the first of his NFL career. He added five more for the Bucs in addition to the one he had to clinch the Super Bowl victory over the Oakland Raiders.

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Bucs DE Barrett basked in first Pro Bowl appearance Wednesday

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Off the best pass-rushing season in Buccaneers history, potential free-agent defensive end Shaq Barrett was soaking things in Wednesday in Orlando.

That’s where the NFC and AFC top players have congregated for the 2020 Pro Bowl coming Sunday.

Barrett, who set the Buccaneers single-season sack record with 19.5 this past season, ended up being the lone Buccaneer able to play in the game. This, after receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have both had to bow out due to hamstring injuries.

Barrett got props on day one from one from Cardinals DE Chandler Jones, whom he battled for the sack title all the way down to the final Sunday of the season:

Barrett then got to hangout and sign autographs with the fans assembled at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The sixth year player out of Colorado State, who was originally undrafted but signed with the Broncos in 2014, then told the media, he’s looking for a big-money free-agent deal. And, further, his preference is that he stays in Tampa Bay.

After all, Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectation in 2019, while playing for a modest one-year free agent deal and betting on himself to cash-in. And now, after his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Bucs GM Jason Licht are done, it appears he will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year just like the top pass rushers in the NFL.

The Bucs also have the possibility of putting the franchise tag for 2020 on Barrett which would also be valued around that same amount for just the one season.

One final cool moment came Wednesday, where Barrett got introduced to a young Buccaneers fan who’s enduring tremendous family hardship with one parent battling cancer and another suffering from the debilitating ALS disease. After signing an autograph for the young man, Barrett gave him the surprise of his young life with two tickets to next weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami:

And just like that fantastic reward, Barrett will soon be similarly rewarded for his fantastic year and upcoming potential. And most likely, it will be in Tampa Bay for a long time.

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Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.

As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.

And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.

As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.

Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.

Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.

Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.

In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move

James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.

Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.

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