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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Buccaneers to Watch vs. Vikings

Five players to keep an eye on when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Minnesota Vikings in the first week of the 2015 preseason.


The Buccaneers head out to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in their first game of the 2015 preseason.


1. QB Jameis Winston
On Saturday, Winston will take the field for the first professional football game of his career when the Bucs take on the Vikings. Winston and the starters are expected to play for about a quarter, Head Coach Lovie Smith said, but because he's a rookie, there's a chance Winston could play a little longer. "The goal is to get better every day," Winston said during a press conference earlier in the week. "Now, since we're playing against another opponent, we'll see what's happening."

2. G Garrett Gilkey
Gilkey is listed at the Bucs' starting right guard on the team's initial depth chart, but Head Coach Lovie Smith said that the real depth chart would start being constructed after Saturday's game. Throughout camp, Gilkey worked with the first team and he's expected to trot out with the starters against Minnesota. But he's also the No. 2 center. Between both positions, he could end up playing most of, if not all of the game.

3. WR Kenny Bell
Throughout camp, Coach Smith has talked about how impressive Bell's speed was. Like Winston, he'll get his first taste of NFL action on Saturday, and in addition to working as a wide receiver, it'll be interesting to see how Bell's explosiveness translates to his work on special teams. Maybe he'll get some work as a gunner on the punt team?

4. S D.J. Swearinger
Both of the starting safety spots are up for grabs, and Swearinger might be more anxious to get into live action than any player in that room. Swearinger is more of an "in-the-box" safety, meaning his stronger suit is against the run. And in practice, defenders don't bring runners or receivers completely to the ground. On Saturday, Swearinger can finally turn loose.

5. G Ali Marpet
In eight months, Marpet will have gone from playing his last collegiate game against Wesley College to suiting up against the Minnesota Vikings. Marpet, along with wide receiver Donteea Dye, are making the drastic jump from Division 3 football to the NFL, but if practice is any indication, it doesn't appear that Marpet will be overwhelmed by the tougher competition.

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