Winston to make debut against Vikings

Winston Mariota Football
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throws a pass during a Buccaneers NFL football training camp practice in Tampa, Fla. Winston makes his NFL debut tonight in a preseason game against the Vikings.

MINNEAPOLIS — Plenty of attention will be on Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston, the top pick in the draft from Florida State, when the rookie sees his first NFL action tonight in a preseason game at Minnesota.

The Vikings (1-0) will be playing their second game of the preseason.

Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said he's planning to play his starters for at least the first quarter, so Winston ought to get a couple of series throwing to Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins against a Minnesota defense that's been noticeably better under coach Mike Zimmer.

Even Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he was "extremely excited" for Winston about his debut.

"I know that he's excited, and I wish him the best," Bridgewater said.


After beating the Steelers in the Hall of Fame game, the Vikings are still evaluating starter candidates at middle linebacker and strong safety, with the competition expected to last all month.

The Buccaneers' defense, supervised by former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, has added several new starters, though safety Chris Conte won't play because of injury.

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