The worst case scenario for the Minnesota Vikings defense vs Tom Brady, Ronald Jones, Gronk and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense on Sunday has come to fruition. Linebacker, and Walter Payton Award Nominee, Eric Kendricks has been ruled out after not practicing all week.
Alexander Mattison is also out and Minnesota could be in trouble at tight end, with Kyle Rudolph doubtful and Irv Smith Jr questionable.
Eric’s calf injury first became a problem right before last week’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He “tweaked” it in warmups, apparently shocking everyone inside the building, just as much as those of us on the outside.
Kendricks is a huge part of the Vikings defense, both in the run and pass. This could have even greater implications vs a guy like Tom Brady, who loves to throw over the middle of the field to his bestie, Rob Gronkowski.
That’s before we get started on Ronald Jones, who Bruce Arians wants the offense to run though. Jones has 820 yards on the season, easily on pace to surpass 1000 yards in 16 games, and 5 touchdowns.
Can the Minnesota Vikings defense slow Tom Brady, Gronk and Jones without Kendricks protecting the middle of the field? That could be the difference.
Other Injury report news
Kyle Rudolph’s iron-man streak is in danger of ending, right after his near-100 consecutive games played was made such a big deal of last weekend. Supposedly, that streak is playing into his status for Sunday. It appears as though he’d already be unavailable this weekend if that wasn’t ongoing.
With Rudolph ailing, Irv Smith Jr’s status becomes even more important. The Vikings have a lot of weapons on offense but taking away a tight end threat would hurt. Here is Mike Zimmer’s full press conference, which took place immediately after the injury report was released.
LIVE: Head Coach Mike Zimmer provides final updates before Sunday's game against Tampa Bay https://t.co/MO8Sky5jZY— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 11, 2020
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan