MINNEAPOLIS — The Bucs were concerned about their offensive line with potentially two rookie starters. Now they have reason to be worried.
RT Demar Dotson, a seven-year veteran, suffered a left knee injury late in the second half of Saturday night's 26-16 preseason loss to the Vikings.
The injury was thought to be a sprained MCL, but the team was to know more after Dotson had an MRI exam scheduled for today.
The Bucs had decided to play rookie QB Jameis Winston the entire first half, forcing Dotson to have an unusually high workload for the first preseason game.
Dotson was blocking Vikings DE Justin Trattou on a pass play when he was injured. He needed to be helped off the field.
If Dotson is unable to play, the Bucs don't have many good options. Patrick Omameh, who struggled as a starter at guard last season, is listed as the backup right tackle. The Bucs more likely would consider moving second-year pro Kevin Pamphile from left tackle to right tackle.
The Bucs drafted LT Donovan Smith and RG Ali Marpet in the second round this year. Both are projected as starters.
No happy returns: The Bucs wanted to upgrade their kick-return game and drafted WR Kaelin Clay out of Utah in the sixth round.
But Clay didn't get off to the best start in his NFL debut. To say the least.
After the Vikings went up 3-0 in the first quarter, Clay gathered the ensuing kickoff 6 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 19 yards. A holding penalty by TE Luke Stocker forced the Bucs to begin the first drive at their 5-yard line.
Clay's first punt-return chance didn't go much better. In fact, it was worse.
Clay caught the ball at the 15-yard line, ran to the 21, then retreated and was tackled at the Bucs' 13. Officially, he had a return of minus-2 yards.
Line dance: Much has been made about the Bucs drafting Smith and Marpet in the second round. But they started Pamphile at left tackle and Garrett Gilkey at right guard.
G Logan Mankins played two series and was replaced by Kadeem Edwards.
Smith's first play of the preseason was memorable in a bad way. He was beaten to the inside by Vikings DE Everson Griffen, who sacked Winston for a 9-yard loss.
Tragedy in Tandy family: Bucs S Keith Tandy was excused from the game after the death of his 17-year-old nephew in Kentucky.
Jayvon Corey Quarles, a middle linebacker and fullback on the Hopkinsville High football team, was reportedly helping move a heavy piece of metal football equipment when it fell and struck him in the head, killing him.
The equipment is used to teach linemen to stay low at the line of scrimmage.
Tandy, 26, is entering his fourth season with the Bucs. The backup safety has played in 40 games, with 51 tackles and four interceptions.
Held out: Rookie WR Rannell Hall, from UCF, and DE T.J. Fatinikun were held out as a precaution because of minor leg strains. Both are expected to return to practice next week. S Chris Conte (hamstring) and OL Josh Allen also did not play.
Listen to Rick Stroud from 6-9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. Follow @NFLStroud.