Vikings: 3 keys to a win against Tampa Bay

1. Establish the run game

The Vikings are facing the top run defense in the NFL when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Tampa is only allowing 74.2 yards per game on the ground so it’ll be a challenge to get Dalvin Cook off and running.

"They’re gonna really be flying around," Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said about the Buccaneers defense. "Todd’s (Bowles) defenses always play extremely hard. I’m so impressed with him as a coach and how hard they play so it’s a big, big challenge for us."

The Vikings offense enters week 14 with the sixth best rushing attack averaging 145.7 yards per game on the ground.

2. No mistakes on special teams

The Vikings last four games have been decided by six games or less and so a mistake on special teams could be extremely costly in what figures to be a close game.

Last week against Jacksonville, Vikings kicker Dan Bailey missed two extra points.

"The operation seemed pretty good," special teams coach Marwan Maalouf said about Bailey’s kicks. "I think he was hitting a little higher on the ball. I noticed that a little bit after his second miss. Just had a bad day."

Bailey is 12 for 15 on field goals this year and 27 for 30 on extra points.

3. No Gronk spikes

After a slow start in Tampa, former All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is starting to heat up during the second half of the season.

In their last game, Gronkowski had a season-high six catches and 106 yards. He also has four touchdown catches over the Buccaneers’ last seven games.

It’ll be a challenge for the Vikings linebackers to cover him with Eric Kendricks out with a calf injury. Look for safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris to keep a close eye on Gronkowski on Sunday.