5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 14

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Adam Thielen /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Rob Gronkowski /

Gronkowski will have a big day against Minnesota’s defense

Another key injury for the Vikings on Sunday will be the absence of Eric Kendricks. The All-Pro linebacker suffered a calf injury late last week and then it flared up during warmups before last Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.

With Kendricks out of the lineup last week, Jacksonville fed Tyler Eifert a season-high six catches which he turned into 45 yards.

Eifert didn’t do enough damage to help steal the game from Minnesota. But there’s a good chance the Vikings won’t be as lucky against Rob Gronkowski.

The future Hall of Famer has looked like his old self after O.J. Howard went down with a torn Achilles in October. Since taking over the lead role in Week 5, Gronkowski is fourth among tight ends with 417 receiving yards and he is coming off a season-high 106 yards in a Week 12 loss to Kansas City.

With Kendricks out of the lineup, Minnesota will have to turn to some combination of Troy Dye and Todd Davis, which represents a massive downgrade for their defense. Look for Tom Brady to take advantage of the hole in the middle of the Vikings defense and help Gronk have another vintage performance.