The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 1-0 after defeating the Chicago Bears 29-7 last week, but that victory came with a price. Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander injured his hamstring after a first quarter interception and did not return, and was ruled out for Sunday’s game at Minnesota. Cornerback Brent Grimes was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury and was a game-time scratch. Defensive linemen Chris Baker and Jacquies Smith didn’t make the trip due to the flu, which hit the Bucs locker room the last two weeks.
That was before the kickoff in what was to become a 34-17 loss at Minnesota. Not only did the Vikings beat the Bucs – they also beat them up as several starters got injured in Sunday’s game.
Early in the game Tampa Bay defensive end Noah Spence, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Week 4 last year and played through the pain before having offseason shoulder surgery, dislocated that shoulder again against the Vikings early on. Spence missed most of the game, but did return to rush on a third down in the third quarter before missing the rest of the game.
After catching a 15-yard touchdown with 8:47 left in the third quarter, Bucs tight end Cameron Brate took a shot to the back of the head – a hit that should have been flagged for targeting – by safety Andrew Sendejo and didn’t return to the game. Brate said he was fine after the game, but Alexander said the same thing after last Sunday’s win against the Bears and all throughout the week despite missing practice. Don’t be surprised if Brate lands in the concussion protocol after the hit.
Bucs linebacker Lavonte David was injured with just three minutes left in the game and it may be the most serious. David had his left leg bent back after a Vikings offensive lineman landed on it and had to be carted off the field. Koetter said x-rays were negative and the initial diagnosis is a high ankle sprain. That could keep David out for several weeks.
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy suffered a sprained ankle against Chicago and re-aggravated it against Minnesota, having to leave the game twice to have it tended to by medical personnel.
Bucs safety T.J. Ward also injured his quad/hip in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
Head coach Dirk Koetter will address these injuries and any other possible ones that weren’t apparent while watching the game tomorrow at his post-game press conference at One Buccaneer Place.