TAMPA, DEC. 16 -- Vinny Testaverde, criticized at times for his reluctance to run, scrambled for 105 yards and a touchdown today to lead Tampa Bay to a 26-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Richard Williamson's debut as the Buccaneers' interim head coach.
Testaverde scored on a 48-yard run in the first quarter, threw a 25-yard scoring pass to Mark Carrier for a 23-0 halftime lead and set up three of Steve Christie's four field goals as the Buccaneers (6-8) took advantage of eight Minnesota turnovers.
The quarterback also led a Gatorade drenching of the new coach. "He prepared us well. He gave us a positive attitude and positive outlook on everything," Testaverde said. "One of the things he told us was go out and have a lot of fun.
The win was the second in a row for Tampa Bay, which stopped a six-game losing streak two weeks ago but couldn't save Coach Ray Perkins's job. The team had an open date last week.
The Vikings (6-8) lost for the ninth consecutive time outdoors, seriously hurting their playoff hopes.
"They all sting, but this one stings a hell of a lot," said Minnesota Coach Jerry Burns. "We couldn't stop them in the first half, then whenever we got anything going we'd fumble or just turn it over."
The Buccaneers forced eight turnovers, including two fumbles that stopped Minnesota scoring threats. In addition, Rodney Rice set up a field goal with an interception of Rich Gannon, benched after completing only two of seven passes for seven yards in the first half.
Wade Wilson, playing for the first time since a thumb injury sidelined him in Week 3, threw for 374 yards and one touchdown for Minnesota.
Hassan Jones scored on a 75-yard pass play and Herschel Walker ran one yard for a third-quarter score, but Wilson threw four interceptions.
Testaverde completed only 12 of 30 passes for 148 yards, but his rushing yardage was a record for a Buccaneers quarterback and the third 100-yard performance against Minnesota's defense in 68 games.
"It doesn't help when you fumble the ball on the first play of the game and their quarterback runs fifty yards to score," Burns said.