The Vikings were doing everything right until wide left on an extra point attempt foreshadowed an abysmal afternoon.
The Buccaneers capitalized on three missed field goals by Dan Bailey and the extra point that kept 10 total points off the board in a 26-14 victory on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay (8-5) insulated itself from Minnesota (6-7) in the race for a playoff spot by scoring 23 consecutive points midway through the second quarter until after its opening drive in the third.
The storm surge included 10 points in the final 44 seconds of the second half.
The Vikings totaled 335 net yards and gained 27 first downs, compared to 303 net yards and 17 first downs by the Bucs.
Minnesota ran 76 offensive plays and kept the ball for 39:03 but failed to end drives with scores. Possessions that started with potential ended with sacks and errant kicks, giving Tampa Bay better field position.
Dalvin Cook rushed 22 times for 102 yards and a short score, becoming the first 100-yard rusher against Tampa Bay this season, but it was to no avail. Minnesota totaled 162 rushing yards that included five runs for 41 yards by Kirk Cousins.
Cousins completed 24 of 37 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 90.5. He was under duress for much of the game and sacked six times.
Irv Smith, Jr., led the Vikings with 63 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Ronald Jones II led the Bucs with 80 yards on 18 carries that included a 1-yard score for a 14-6 lead with 44 seconds left in the first half.
Tom Brady completed 15 of 23 passes for 196 yards with two scores and a passer rating of 120.9.
Q2, 14:17 remaining
Vikings 6, Buccaneers 0
Dalvin Cook rushes for 1 yard (Dan Bailey PAT misses wide left) [14 plays, 84 yards, 8:15 time of possession]
Ground game: The Vikings involved running backs on 11 plays of the drive. Cook rushed eight times for 32 yards, and Mike Boone rushed once for a gain of 5. Ameer
Q2, 7:41 remaining
Buccaneers 7, Vikings 6
Scotty Miller catches a 48-yard pass from Tom Brady [4 plays, 74 yards, 1:49 time of possession]
Momentum swing: The Buccaneers capitalized quickly after a missed 36-yard field goal. Tampa Bay struck with a completion to Mike Evans for a gain of 20 to start the drive three plays before the post pattern worked against 1-on-1 coverage by Chris Jones.
Q2, 0:44 remaining
Buccaneers 14, Vikings 6
Ronald Jones II rushes for 1 yard (Ryan Succop kicks PAT) [10 plays, 56 yards, 3:53 time of possession]
Costly penalties: The Vikings appeared to get off the field after a third-and-6 gained 3, but Harrison Smith was flagged for a lowering the helmet penalty that gave the Bucs a new set of downs. Jeff Gladney was called for pass interference on a pass he intercepted two plays later.
Q2, 0:00 remaining
Buccaneers 17, Vikings 6
Succop kicks 18-yard field goal [4 plays, 71 yards, 0:21 time of possession]
Iffy at best: Tampa Bay barely spiked the ball at the Minnesota 47-yard line to kill the clock with 0:01 second left and threw a Hail Mary pass toward tight end Rob Gronkowski. Officials awarded a pass interference against Todd Davis to Tampa Bay to move the ball to the 1 and giving Tampa Bay an untimed play.
Q3, 10:09 remaining
Buccaneers 23, Vikings 6
Gronkowski catches a 2-yard pass from Brady (Succop misses PAT wide right) [9 plays, 75 yards, 4:51 time of possession]
Running 'Shade': LeSean "Shady" McCoy, who entered the game with six carries for minus-1 yard on the season carried the ball four consecutive times for gains of 10, 5, 4 and 14 to move the ball from the Tampa Bay 33 to the Minnesota 35 and set up a 29-yard pass to Evans.
Q3, 1:36 remaining
Buccaneers 23, Vikings 14
Irv Smith, Jr., catches a 14-yard pass from Cousins (Jefferson catches 2-point conversion pass from Cousins) [15 plays, 75 yards, 8:33 time of possession]
Pair of fourths: The Vikings kept the drive alive by twice converting on fourth down. Cook picked up a yard on a fourth-and-1, and Tyler Conklin caught a 7-yard pass from Cousins on fourth-and-6 two plays before the score.
Q4, 5:16 remaining
Buccaneers 26, Vikings 14
Succop kicks a 48-yard field goal [8 plays, 34 yards, 3:44 time of possession]
Stopping the tide: D.J. Wonnum tackled Ke'Shawn Vaughn for a loss of 3 after gains of 10 and 16 earlier in the possession.