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Vikings Put Perfect Home Record to Test vs. Bucs

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s rebuilding project might eventually prove it needs more work. The Vikings, though, have clearly restored a critical piece of their foundation: the dome-field advantage.

They’re 4-0 this year under the roof, where their fierce pass rush has been bothering opposing quarterbacks and Adrian Peterson has been powering his way through the other team’s defense.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are next, on Thursday night.

Quarterback Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers (2-4) weren’t fazed by the environment last year, when the Vikings led 17-0 at halftime and still by 10 points with less than 7 minutes left before falling 24-20.

This is a different Vikings team, though, even if quarterback Christian Ponder has been struggling with seven turnovers in the last three games.

The rush up front, led by Jared Allen’s team-high six sacks, is strong again, but the pass coverage in back has been the biggest key to the turnaround from that franchise-worst 3-13 finish in 2011.

The hardest part of their schedule looms like a storm on the horizon, and they’ll need more than just an umbrella to survive with a playoff-eligible record. The true test of the NFL’s most surprisingly successful team to this point won’t come until after Thanksgiving. The key for them in the meantime is to maintain this regained edge at the dome, where they were 1-7 last season.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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