The Vikings' youth showed during Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Buccaneers.

There were growing pains like when safety Jay Ward was flagged for offsides on a Tampa Bay field-goal attempt, giving the Buccaneers a new set of downs that led to a touchdown.

Bright spots also appeared, such as rookie receiver Jordan Addison's 39-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Addison took advantage of Tampa Bay's double coverage on receiver Justin Jefferson and outran Buccaneers safety Ryan Neal on a go route.

"I really enjoyed that moment, cherished it, every second of it," said Addison, who had four catches for 61 yards and a score. "I hope — well, I know — there's going to be many more plays I make like that."

Five Vikings rookies made their NFL debuts on Sunday: Addison, Ward, cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. and cornerback NaJee Thompson. Fifth-round quarterback Jaren Hall suited up, but did not play as the emergency third passer.

Addison, Pace and Blackmon handled the biggest roles. Blackmon, a third-round pick out of Southern California, entered the game as an outside corner in pass-focused subpackages. He was commended by coach Kevin O'Connell for his defense on Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans, who failed to come down with a first-quarter deep throw that Blackmon was closer to catching.

"Mekhi made a nice play down the right sideline," O'Connell said. "Jordan obviously showed up. There were a couple other plays where we just had some mental errors in some different spots."

Blackmon was also closest to Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin's game-sealing catch that converted a third-and-10 play and allowed Tampa Bay to run out the clock.

Blackmon said he wasn't assigned man-to-man coverage on Godwin. He said Tampa Bay caught them off guard as Vikings defenders were sorting out their assignments.

"I don't think we anticipated them throwing" an out route, Blackmon said.

"Maybe if I was a little tighter [to Godwin], I could've helped out by making a play," he added.

The Buccaneers started the game-sealing drive at the 30-yard line after Thompson, the undrafted rookie and special teams contributor, missed punt returner Deven Thompkins and surrendered a 16-yard return.

One of the Vikings' mental errors appeared to come from second-year safety Lewis Cine, who ran off the field before the Buccaneers' go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.

Cine's exit left the Vikings with 10 players on the field and forced Minnesota to burn a crucial timeout with five minutes left. His teammates were visibly frustrated.

One bright spot emerged in Pace, the undrafted rookie out of Cincinnati. He played nearly every snap when the Vikings deployed two inside linebackers. Second-year linebacker Brian Asamoah II got just a handful of snaps.

Veteran linebacker Jordan Hicks praised Pace, who finished with eight tackles and a hit on Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

"Played really well," Hicks said. "And obviously showed he can handle it."

The team's plan was to rotate Pace and Asamoah, but O'Connell said Pace "earned the right" to stay in the game. Pace spent most of training camp with the first-team defense while Asamoah missed about three weeks with a shoulder injury.

"The plan was there was going to be a little bit of a rotation," O'Connell said. "We feel really good about a three-man grouping there, but [Pace] had earned the right to be on the field. Brian had to deal with an injury through camp and those reps were really valuable. We still feel great about Jordan, I.P. and Brian and Troy [Dye] ... That inside backer group is a strength for us."