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What's Next: Roster Cuts, Regular Season Looming for Buccaneers

With the preseason concluded, the Buccaneers now turn their attention to a deep round of roster cuts to start next week and the upcoming regular season opener in Minnesota on Sept. 10

Ravens vs. Bucs
Ravens vs. Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrapped up their 2023 preseason slate on Saturday night with a 26-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. That means the next game will count, and it's only two weeks away.

Tampa Bay's 17-game regular season will begin on Sunday, September 10 against the Minnesota Vikings, with kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. There are a few more tasks for the Buccaneers to complete before they hit the field again, most notably a round of more than three dozen roster moves to get down to the regular-season limit of 53 players.

That assignment must be completed by next Tuesday, August 29, at 4:00 p.m. ET, though it likely will begin a little early. Buccaneers players will get both Sunday and Monday off while the roster takes shape, then return to work on Tuesday morning as the regular season gets underway. After the cut from 90 to 53, Buccaneer team architects will form a 16-man practice squad and scour a bloated waiver wire to see if they can find any potential upgrades.

As has become custom, there are no NFL games on Labor Day weekend, so the Buccaneers and the rest of the league will get another week to prepare for their Week One opponents. In this case, that's a Vikings team that won the NFC North with a 13-4 record last year before falling to the New York Giants in the first round of the playoffs. The Vikings notably set an NFL record by going 9-0 in one-score games in 2022, the most such victories without a loss by any team in league history.

With a road game to kick things off, the Bucs will be putting a new offense on display against a Minnesota defense that ranked 31st in total defense and 31st against the pass last year. After purposely following pared-down "vanilla" scripts during the preseason, the Bucs will open up the playbook of new Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales and see what it can bring out of their new starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The Vikings will try to disrupt Mayfield in his Buccaneer debut with edge pressure led by Danielle Hunter and free agent acquisition Marcus Davenport.

Tampa Bay's defense, meanwhile, will have to contend with the NFL's top receiver from 2022, Justin Jefferson, as well as first-round pick Jordan Addison, who is Jefferson's new sidekick after the offseason release of Adam Thielen. Kirk Cousins, who went to his third Pro Bowl in the last four years in 2022, will once again be distributing the football to those talented receivers, though he will no longer share the Vikings' backfield with Dalvin Cook, who was also released in the offseason.

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