Matchup No. 3
Akayleb Evans vs. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin
To say that the Vikings' secondary struggled last season would be an understatement. Minnesota did sign a major free agent this offseason in cornerback Byron Murphy, but it's going to take more than just him to help right the ship. This is where second-year Vikings corner Akayleb Evans comes in.
Evans showed flashes as a rookie last season, but reoccurring concussion issues hampered his playing time. He is now healthy to start the year and is listed as a starting cornerback on Minnesota's unofficial depth chart for Week 1.
Evans is set for a major test right out the gate, as the Bucs wide receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are one of the most elite pass-catching duos in the NFL. While Murphy will have his hands full with one of Tampa's elite receivers, whoever is left for Evans will be no slouch.
While it's not fair to expect Evans to lock down whoever he is covering on Sunday, it would be nice to see him stand his ground against a formidable foe.
The positive for Evans is that the Bucs do not have Tom Brady throwing passes anymore, but they are now rolling with journeyman quarterback Baker Mayfield. This is not to mean that Evans should let his guard down to Mayfield, but it's certainly a big sigh of relief that Minnesota doesn't have to face the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.