NFL Minnesota VikingsTampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin Introduces Himself in TNF Win Over Minnesota Vikings

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Going into Thursday night’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings, I knew a little bit about rookie running back Doug Martin. I knew that he was already a legitimate starter, and that he  was putting up some numbers, but I really had no idea what I was in store for on this Thursday night.

Martin’s performance was just short of ‘putting on a show.’ He was spectacular in all aspects of the game, running 29 times for 135 yards, and catching 3 more balls for 79 yards, scoring 2 touchdowns along the way. Martin showed the country what he’s all about on Thursday night.

For the many like myself (not in Florida), there aren’t a lot of Bucs games on national television, so I hadn’t really got a full look at Martin. What I saw was a small, yet very physical back, who’s going to develop into one of the best dual-threats in the game.

People are going to draw comparisons to Ray Rice, and while it’s easy because they’ve played for the same coach – Greg Schiano – and they’re similar in size, it is an accurate comparison.

I hate to lazily admit it, but Martin is what I would consider a ‘Ray Rice’ type of running back. You can throw other guys like Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles into the conversation as well, but Martin is going to be compared to Rice because he plays for Greg Schiano.

Let’s acknowledge the similarities, move on, and let Martin be his own running back…

It looks like Tampa Bay might have gotten the steal of the draft with the 31st pick and Doug Martin this year. Thursday night was no doubt his coming out party, and for those like myself who didn’t know what this young man was all about, know we know.

Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish