The Buccaneers defeated the Vikings in a key NFC showdown and remained a game behind the division-leading Panthers in the NFC South, but Tampa Bay may have lost two key players for the season in the victory.
Running back Earnest Graham suffered an ankle injury, linebacker Geno Hayes hurt his knee, and on Monday, Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden said that both injuries could be season-ending.
“I believe Earnest Graham’s ankle looks to be a serious injury and his status for the rest of the season is very much in question right now,” Gruden said in his Monday morning press conference.
The Buccaneers activated Carnell “Cadillac” Williams last week, and now the running back who has spent the greater part of the last 13 months rehabilitating a seriously injured right knee will be pressed into action.
“It will be a great opportunity for Carnell to resume his career,” Gruden said. “He’s a workhorse-type back and that’s what we’ve been trying to bring him back to, not just a situational runner but an every-down workhorse-type back; a guy that can handle it in short yardage and goal line; a guy that can finish the game with repeated runs in the four-minute drill where you know that the clock is the enemy.”
Graham started all 10 of the Buccaneers’ games this season, rushing for 563 yards and four touchdowns.