TAMPA — Vikings QB Sam Bradford was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Bucs with a knee injury.
That means Minnesota will start Bucs killer Case Keenum, who has beaten Tampa Bay each of the past two years with the Rams. Keenum has passed for three touchdowns of 43 yards or more in those games. In the Bucs' other 31 games since the start of 2015, all other opposing quarterbacks have totaled three touchdown passes of 43 yards or longer.
"We probably shouldn't be calling him a backup because he has beat us two years in a row," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. "They might be better off with him playing. He seems to have our number."
Keenum completed 20 of 37 passes for 167 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in a 26-9 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy said his teammates are aware of their lack of success against Keenum.
"Trust me, we've talked about it," McCoy said. "(We) haven't beaten him the last two times we've played him. As a matter of fact, neither one of these guys I think I've ever beat, Case or Sam. I don't think we ever beat Sam. No, I haven't. I don't like that. We have to change that."
For the record, McCoy's memory is a little faulty: He and the Bucs beat Bradford and the Rams 18-17 in 2010, the rookie seasons for McCoy and Bradford.
Kwon to sit
A lingering hamstring injury that LB Kwon Alexander aggravated in the season opener will knock him out of Sunday's game.
Alexander did not practice this week but had said he expected to play Sunday. Instead, the Bucs felt compelled to give the injury more time to completely heal and will turn to rookie Kendell Beckwith at middle linebacker.
Beckwith, a third-round pick and former teammate of Alexander's at LSU, had five tackles against the Bears after starting the game at strongside linebacker.
Two players who haven't practiced all week due to illness — DT Chris Baker and DE Jacquies Smith — are listed as doubtful, which the NFL translates as "unlikely to play." If Baker can't go, the team would likely promote Channing Ward from the practice squad, requiring another roster move to make room. G Kevin Pamphile missed Friday's practice due to illness but could be back in time for today's walk-through and start as scheduled Sunday.
McCoy was upgraded to full participation after being limited by an ankle injury and should be fine to play Sunday. CB Brent Grimes remained at limited participation for a third straight day with a shoulder injury and is officially listed as questionable. LB Devante Bond, who missed last week's game recovering from a knee injury, has been at full participation all week and could make his Bucs debut Sunday.
NFL fines Conte
S Chris Conte has been fined by the NFL for a helmet-first hit on Bears WR Josh Bellamy that resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win.
Conte said the league had notified his agent of the fine, but he wasn't told the specifics. ESPN reported it as a $24,000 fine, and the league's schedule of fines for 2017 lists the initial violation for "impermissible use of the helmet" as $24,309. He was previously fined $22,050 in 2014 for a hit against the Bills. He said he intends to appeal the current fine, saying it comes with playing his position.
"I'll appeal it and hopefully get some money back," Conte said after practice. "You play safety, you're going to get fined."