Buccaneers 24

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Vikings 13

(0-1, 0-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 11, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 17 0 724
MIN 7 0 3 313

Top Performers

Passing: D. Culpepper (MIN) - 233 YDS, 3 INT

Rushing: C. Williams (TB) - 27 CAR, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Galloway (TB) - 5 REC, 97 YDS

Tampa Bay (5-11) at Minnesota (8-8) 1:00 pm EDT

Tampa Bay (5-11) at Minnesota (8-8), 1:00 pm EDT

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Daunte Culpepper no longer has Randy Moss to lean on.

Culpepper begins a new era without Moss as his main target Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener for both teams.

After tiring of Moss' antics both on and off the field, the Vikings traded the controversial receiver to the Oakland Raiders on March 2 for linebacker Napoleon Harris and two draft picks, including a first-round selection.

Moss irritated teammates when he walked off the field in the final seconds of the Vikings' January 2 loss at Washington. Moss enhanced his bad boy image in the playoffs when he pretended to pull his pants down and motioned as if to moon the fans after catching a 34-yard touchdown pass in the Vikings' wild card win at Green Bay. He was fined $10,000 by the NFL for unsportsmanlike conduct.

By trading Moss, who had four years left on his eight-year, $75 million contract, the Vikings were able to make improvements in other areas, specifically a defense which ranked 28th in the NFL last season.

In addition to acquiring Harris, the Vikings also signed linebacker Sam Cowart, defensive tackle Pat Williams, cornerback Fred Smoot and safety Darren Sharper.

Culpepper also still has a major weapon at wide receiver in Nate Burleson, who emerged last season to catch 68 passes for 1,006 yards and nine touchdowns. Veteran Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor and first-round pick Troy Williamson also will factor into the passing game.

Relying on a short passing game, Culpepper was superb in four preseason games, completing 36-of-44 passes for 520 yards and one touchdown with an interception.

At running back, the Vikings still go with the trio of Michael Bennett, Mewelde Moore and Moe Williams.

Since winning the Super Bowl in 2002, the Buccaneers have gone just 12-20 the last two seasons under fiery coach Jon Gruden.

Gruden got the speed he wanted in the backfield when the Bucs selected running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams fifth overall in April's draft.

Gruden already has a playmaker at wide receiver in Michael Clayton, who enjoyed a stellar rookie season with 80 catches for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns.

Brian Griese enters the season as the Bucs' starting quarterback. He played well in 11 games last season, throwing for 2,632 yards and 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

The game is a reunion for defensive tackle Chris Hovan, a first-round pick of the Vikings in 2000 who signed with the Bucs in the offseason. Hovan had 17 sacks in five seasons in Minnesota.

Matchup to watch: The 6-3 Clayton against 5-9 left cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Series: The Vikings lead against their old NFC Central rivals, 31-18.

Next week: Tampa Bay hosts Buffalo, September 18 Minnesota visits Cincinnati, September 18


Passing Leaders

J. McCown56.322061114
M. Glennon57.61417106
T. Bridgewater64.429191412
M. Cassel57.742534

Rushing Leaders

D. Martin1344943.72
B. Rainey944064.31
M. Asiata1645703.59
J. McKinnon1135384.80

Receiving Leaders

M. Evans68105115.512
V. Jackson70100214.32
G. Jennings5974212.66
J. Wright4258814.02

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

Total YardsTB
Yards PassingTB
Yards RushingTB
Yards AllowedTB
Pass Yds AllowedTB
Rush Yds AllowedTB

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1
Nov 3, 2002TB 38, MIN 24
Oct 28, 2001TB 41, MIN 14
Sep 30, 2001TB 16, @MIN 20