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Vita Vea Injury Update is Incredible News for Buccaneers Ahead of NFC Championship

Max Staley
Vita Vea injury update is incredible news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Vita Vea injury update is incredible news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When Vita Vea went down with a fractured ankle in Week 5, most assumed he was done for the year. However, the 6-foot-4, 345-pound defensive tackle has been designated to return from the injured reserve and will begin practicing on Wednesday.

Vita Vea Injury News

While he's not a lock to play, the fact that he has a chance to suit up for the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers is pretty shocking. And if Vea is out there, this Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense could get downright scary in a hurry.

While Vea isn't a household name yet, he really should be. Before going down, Vea had an overall grade of 90.1 from Pro Football Focus. That was the third-best grade among all interior defenders, only trailing superstars like Aaron Donald (94.5) and Chris Jones (90.3).

He's also one of the best run-stuffing DTs in the league. Without Vea, Tampa Bay still managed to finish at the league's No. 1 defense against the run, surrendering 80.6 rushing yards per game. In the five games Vea played, that figured plummeted to just 58.4 rushing yards per game.

Don't think of him as just a one-trick pony, though. Vea also received the third-highest pass-rushing grade among interior defenders from PFF, again trailing only Donald and Jones.

Getting a talent like Vea back is the kind of thing that can swing a playoff matchup. Tampa Bay is currently a 3.5-point road underdog, per FanDuel Sportsbook, but a healthy Vea would surely help close that gap.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.