The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that QB Shaun King will make his NFL starting debut in a Monday Night prime time matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bucs (7-4), winners of four straight, will face a red-hot Vikings (8-4) squad that has won five consecutive games for a spot atop the NFC Central standings.
King replaces Trent Dilfer who suffered a right clavicle fracture in a 16-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks yesterday. In his first NFL action, King showed poise and accuracy, completing 3-of-7 passes for 32 yards and his first career NFL touchdown, a two-yard touchdown to TE Patrick Hape early in the fourth quarter.
"I'm just excited for the opportunity," King said. "You couldn't ask for more as far as from a competitor standpoint. It's a chance to start in front of my hometown audience. I'm going to do everything that I can to help this team win."
King, a native of St. Petersburg, will try to become the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the playoffs since Kelley Stouffer lead Seattle to postseason play in 1988.
"Shaun will do a good job for us and he's a guy we have a lot of confidence in," Bucs coach Tony Dungy said. "More importantly, his teammates have confidence in him and he's been able to succeed when placed in tough spots early on in his athletic career. I feel like he will do well."
The Bucs will sign a quarterback on Wednesday, but have not made a decision whether to place Dilfer on injured reserve. Dilfer is slated to miss at least four to six weeks.
BUCCANEERS INJURY REPORT Dilfer (right clavicle fracture) S John Lynch (left knee sprain), S Damien Robinson (left hip flexor), G Frank Middleton (left knee sprain) and LB Shelton Quarles (left thigh contusion) suffered injuries in yesterday's win.
A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER The Bucs recorded their first undefeated November in club history, finishing an unblemished 4-0. Tampa Bay defeated New Orleans, Kansas City, Atlanta and Seattle. Their previous best November mark was a 4-1 mark in 1997, en route to a 10-6 record and the franchise's first playoff appearance in 15 years.