Update: Noah Spence returned to play in the second quarter.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is being decimated by injuries. Defensive end Noah Spence was forced the leave the game against the Minnesota Vikings with a shoulder injury, and his odds of returning were announced as questionable—it’s not clear exactly how serious that injury is.
With Spence out, the Bucs have next to no edge rush. Jacquies Smith is inactive with illness, and that leaves Robert Ayers as the only defensive capable of bringing some pressure—but he’s not a true, explosive edge rusher.
The Bucs defense is decimated in other places, too: starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander is out with a hamstring injury, while defensive tackle Chris Baker couldn’t play due to the flu and cornerback Brent Grimes has a shoulder injury keeping him out.
So far, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum has been taking advantage of those injuries, completing four of six passes for 85 yards—and nearly adding another long bomb, though a drop forced them to punt instead.