The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been decimated by injuries this week: starters cornerback Brent Grimes, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive tackle Chris Baker are all absent today against the Minnesota Vikings, while backup edge-rusher Jacquies Smith is also out with the flu.
That leaves the Bucs shorthanded, though they thankfully have the depth to still field a competent group. Rookie Kendell Beckwith should replace Alexander for the second week in a row, while second-year cornerback Ryan Smith will likely get the first start of his career in Grimes’ place. Clinton McDonald will get more playing time in Baker’s stead, while Sealver Siliga will also get some early-down run-defense snaps.
Oddly enough, the Bucs are entirely healthy on offense. Left guard Kevin Pamphile was a question mark given an illness on Friday, but he’s recovered enough to play, and no other players were going to miss this game. Pamphile did split time with Evan Smith last week, so he may not get the start today.
As for the Minnesota Vikings, they won’t have Sam Bradford today so Case Keenum starts at quarterback. That’s it: they’re healthy other than that.
Buccaneers inactives: CB B. Grimes, DE J. Smith, LB K. Alexander, T L. Wester,C J. Hawley #82, TE A. Auclair, DT C. Baker
Vikings inactives: QB Sam Bradford, WR Rodney Adams, WR Stacy Coley, G Danny Isidora, T Aviante Collins, DE Tashawn Bower, DT Jaleel Johnson.