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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings Friday notes: Bucs’ defense dinged up

By Matthew Coller

The biggest news out of Winter Park on Friday – by a mile – was the fact that Sam Bradford will not be under center when the Minnesota Vikings face off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Aside from Knee Gate or whatever it’s being called, here are a couple of other Vikings/Bucs notes…

Bucs’ defense dinged up

Tampa Bay will be without its explosive young linebacker Kwon Alexander, who intercepted a pass last week against the Bears. Mike Zimmer talked about the speed of the Bucs’ linebackers and Alexander was certainly part of that. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 2015. Rookie Kendell Beckwith took Alexander’s spot after he got hurt last week.

Gerald McCoy could be a huge problem for the Vikings’ offensive line if their performance against Cameron Heyward is any judge, but McCoy will be playing with an ankle ailment. He’s listed as “questionable” on the Bucs’ injury report, but did participate fully on Friday.

Top Tampa corner Brent Grimes was limited in practice with a shoulder injury. He’s also “questionable.”

Diggs vs. Grimes?

The Vikings’ combination of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen will be a tough matchup for any defensive backfield no matter who’s playing quarterback. Assuming Grimes plays through his shoulder injury, he could end up tacking one of the Vikings’ top two receivers or staying on one side and playing both throughout the game.

“He’s always been one of the corners who’s damn good,” Diggs said. “Quick, smaller guy but he plays big, he’s a competitor out there. I like his game.”

Shurmur on Thielen as a deep threat

Adam Thielen has continued to be one of the league’s best downfield receivers. Last season, he was second to only Julio Jones in Yards Per Target. This year, he’s grabbed four passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air for 130 yards. Pat Shurmur explained why he’s so good on deep balls.

“The one thing about Adam [Thielen], he’s a little bit like an outfielder. I think he can judge the ball well and some receivers don’t have that skill, so when the ball is in the air down the field and you’ve seen at times where he doesn’t have separation, which sometimes you don’t know matter how good a receiver you are, he has a way of being able to judge the ball and aggressively attack it with his hands. He’s got a strong physic. That allows him to finish usually the plays with a catch.”

Jerick the Lynx fan

Jerick McKinnon said Friday that he’ll be rooting for the Lynx in their WNBA Finals matchup against the Los Angeles Sparks. The two teams match up for Game 1 on Sunday. McKinnion said he wants to attend one of the two home games. McKinnon’s mother was a basketball player and he changed his number last year to honor her influence.

“My momma has got the wettest shot [in the family],” Jerick said, adding, “Shout out to Maya Moore, shout out to the Lynx, my money’s on Minnesota.”

Shamar Stephen, a former high school star basketball player, will also be keeping close track. He played football at UConn, Moore’s alma mater.

The post Vikings Friday notes: Bucs’ defense dinged up appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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