Tampa Bay will go without key players on offense and defense Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean will sit out due to injury, Tampa Bay Times reporter Joey Knight confirmed via Twitter. The Bucs will also go without running back Leonard Fournette as Knight reported.
Dean had been listed as doubtful due to injury. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said earlier in the week that Dean would be a game-time decision according to CBS Sports.
Dean has been effective in the defensive backfield this season with 48 tackles and an interception this season. The former Auburn start started the past four games for the Bucs.
Tampa activated cornerback Herb Miller Saturday according to the Tampa Bay Times Reporter Rick Stroud via Twitter.
The Bucs secondary could have its hands full against the Vikings passing game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has dangerous receivers to throw to in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. The Bucs defense also needs to be mindful of former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
USA Today’s Bucs Wire reported that Fournette is a healthy scratch for the game.
Fournette has been quiet in the running game of late with less than 10 carries and 20 yards in each of his last three outings. Fellow running back Ronald Jones III, who is on pace for a 1,000-yard season, has been the go-to back of late.
Stroud noted via Twitter that the Bucs could look to additional options in the backfield — particularly LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
McCoy had been the third-down back, as Stroud noted. The former Pro Bowl back has only six carries this season but has 10 catches for 61 yards out of the backfield.
Facing Old Home Team
Bucs rookie wide receiver Tyler Johnson will get to play against his hometown team Sunday.
Johnson grew up in north Minneapolis and played at the University of Minnesota before the Bucs took him in the 2020 NFL Draft. Twin Cities Pioneer Press reporter Dane Mizutani wrote that Johnson has been dubbed the “GOAT of the Northside” in Minneapolis for his athletic success at a public high school that was in danger of closing instead of going to a private school.
Johnson caught his first NFL career touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady in Week 6. Johnson has 10 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns this year but has seen a lesser role since the addition of star wide receiver Antonio Brown.