The Bucs (4-10) entered the season with high hopes, but the plethora of injuries this season thwarted playoff aspirations.
The Buccaneers resemble a M.A.S.H. unit �� The Bucs played without running back Doug Martin, who was a healthy scratch because of a team rules violation. The Tampa defense was also without several injured players �� Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (biceps), linebacker Lavonte David (hamstring) and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (hamstring).
The Bucs then lost tight ends Cameron Brate (knee) and O.J. Howard (ankle), guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle), and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (ankle) in the first half. Howard was injured when he was hit while diving into the end zone for Tampa Bay’s first score.
Adarius Glanton �� David’s replacement at linebacker �� was carted off the field in the third quarter after breaking his left leg. The defense also had linebacker Devante Bond (stinger), safety Justin Evans (ankle) and defensive end Robert Ayers (stinger) leave the game.
Winston was the only reason Monday’s game was close �� Winston did all he could to will his team to a win, but he was playing with a makeshift offensive line and lost his top two tight ends. Winston was directing traffic like a sandlot quarterback would do in a pickup game. It actually worked for a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Adam Humphries.
Likewise, Vikings offensive linemen didn’t sound inclined to talk tough about shutting up Jordan. They deferred to a more respectful approach.
He’s had a great career, great year, and it’s going to be a tough battle, Vikings offensive tackle Mike Remmers said. The first thing that we’d like to do is just block him. … He’s just fast, physical, just a smart player. He’s really got a little bit of everything.
Vikings QB Case Keenum called Jordan a really talented player who creates a lot of havoc in the backfield in the run or pass game �� a guy that we need to know where he’s at at all times.
Odds are, they’ll hear him coming.