The Vikings are well-aware they have a big game in front of them.
The team is set to travel Saturday to Tampa for Sunday's showdown against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
ESPN beat reporters Jenna Laine (Bucs) and Courtney Cronin (Vikings) collaborated on notes and projections for the NFC matchup.
Laine spotlighted Tampa Bay's stout run defense in "what to watch," writing the following:
The Bucs top-ranked rushing defense is giving up just 74 rushing yards per game and has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season, while Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook boasts the league's second-most rushing yards with 1,250. The Bucs made the Chiefs and Rams one-dimensional, and Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff still thrived, but this will be a big test for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.
Cronin made the "bold prediction" for Sunday, and it does not favor Minnesota. She expects Brady to come out of the bye firing on all cylinders.
Brady will throw for 350 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bucs bye week will prove to be just what the offense needed to get back on track, and as a bonus, Brady's deep passing attack will look rejuvenated. Against a young Vikings secondary, Brady will avoid his first regular-season three-game losing streak since 2002.
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson was spotlighted under "stat to know," as he enters Week 14 with 1,039 yards through the air. His current rate of production puts Jefferson on-pace for 1,385 receiving yards, which would be the second most all-time by a rookie behind Bill Groman's 1,473 in the American Football League in 1960.
Cronin and Laine broke down the playoff picture for both teams:
The Buccaneers enter the week with a 92-percent chance of making the playoffs, but if Minnesota beats them, they will be looking at a 73-percent chance, per FPI. The Vikings, meanwhile, are fighting for their playoff lives. They enter the week with a 32-percent chance, which could climb to 64 percent with a win. They'll have a 23-percent chance to still make the postseason if they lose and fall to 6-7.
As far as Sunday's final score, both ESPN reporters projected a Tampa Bay victory.
Jared Allen's nonprofit building home for Purple Heart recipient
Last month, Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors built a mortgage-free home for its first female recipient, retired Sgt. Stephanie Vazquez.
The nonprofit is now building a mortgage-free, handicap-accessible home in Harrisville, Michigan, for a United States Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, retired Army Specialist (SPC) Bobby Body.
Body enlisted in the Army following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. In February 2006, he was on a routine mission in Afghanistan when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, resulting in injuries that ultimately led to the amputation of Body's lower left leg.
Now 14 years later, Body is undergoing multiple surgeries for a new prosthesis and recovering in a home where the absence of handicap-accessible features leads to daily difficulties and risk of additional injury.
Allen, who played for the Vikings from 2008-13 and received four Pro Bowl nods in that time, established Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors in October 2009 after returning home from a goodwill tour to U.S. Military bases in the Middle East.
"The freedom to enjoy the beauty of a Christmas tree or the glow from a menorah is owed to veterans, like Army Specialist Bobby Body." said Allen. "His service has allowed us celebrate the holidays enjoying the comforts of our home, and we believe he deserves the same."
Body is excited for the ways his new home "will allow us to live comfortably and focus on family" rather than day-to-day challenges.
"I am so excited and grateful to have been chosen to be a JAH4WW home recipient and looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas there in 2021," Body said.
To stay up to date on Bobby's home build, follow Jared Allen's Home for Wounded Warriors on Facebook and Instagram at @JAH4WW. Donations can be made here.
Vikings Connected is a light hearted look at the Vikings players and organization through social media as well as an opportunity to showcase the personalities on the team. Returning for their 7th season are co-hosts Erin Newburg, and Chris Hawkey from the Vikings Radio Flagship KFAN.