There will be a lot to complain about regarding tonight’s loss (is this another early season defensive mirage that disappears as the season goes along?), but I’ll narrow my focus here.
The Vikings’ offensive problem tonight was an inability to pass protect. Christian Ponder rarely had a chance to step into a pocket and clearly make reads. He was getting chased and hit on just about every dropback, which significantly hindered the Vikes’ ability to pass. Ponder did not look good tonight, but I’m not sure he had an opportunity to look good. Matt Kalil had some tough moments.
And I think the pass protection problem is tied to the Vikings’ glaring weakness at wide receiver. The Vikings have no deep threat to beat a one on one coverage, so tonight the Bucs risked nothing by blitzing heavy. There was no Viking that could really threaten to make a deep sideline catch, and screen plays to the running back aren’t really the Vikings’ game. So how do the Vikes beat a blitz in obvious passing situations? They can't. And yet the Bucs could get to Ponder with a four man rush too.
I don’t know if Ponder is good (it is deep completions that make my heart pitter patter), but I don’t know that he has the chance to show it when his receivers can’t get open and the line can’t block. And a combination of weaknesses makes the Viking offense severely limited going forward this season.