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Vikings-Buccaneers matchup of the day: Thursday

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Posted Sept. 15, 2011 @ 9:53 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Check out this key matchup in Sunday's Vikings-Buccaneers game:

Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman vs. Vikings' D-line

Something that Vikings DE Brian Robison said in his "Five questions" segment with PFW is worth noting. When asked about Freeman's ability to get outside the pocket, Robison seemed to suggest that the Vikings might not mind this happening all that much. It's interesting because that goes slightly against the league's book on Freeman, a great athlete who isn't a huge scrambler (102-551-0 rushing in 26 career starts) but who is very athletic and throws well on the move.

Perhaps the Vikings' thinking is this: Freeman might like to throw on the move, but we don't think he's as accurate in those situations as when he sits back in the pocket. In fact, Sunday, the Lions got good pressure on Freeman, and he was largely ineffective through the first three quarters. It wasn't until the Lions got into more of a prevent-type defense in the fourth with a lead that Freeman started stringing some quality throws together.

The Vikings' pass rush was largely effective in Week One, at least from the outside. Robison and Jared Allen were causing problems for the Chargers' protection, and they might do even more against a less-talented Bucs offensive line. You might see some stunts and blitzes from the inside that could get Freeman on the move and force him to make throws while his feet are not set.

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