In a move that has massive implications for fantasy football players all across America, and some small implication for fans of real football, the Jaguars have announced that Maurice Jones-Drew will see only limited action Sunday against the Vikings. Coach Mike Mularkey says Rashad Jennings will start, with Jones-Drew rotating in as a third down back and possibly getting one series as the main back. Jones-Drew of course is just returning after a contract hold-out that caused him to miss all of camp and preseason.
Jones-Drew for his part is just glad to be back. “It felt great,” the running back said after his first practice session Monday. ”Obviously studying the playbook kind of getting into the intricate details of things, the snap count. It felt great to get out there and run around with the guys and get hit a little bit. It’s kind of good to get my legs back underneath me and getting ready to roll.”
The news that Jones-Drew will see limited snaps might come as some relief to a Vikings defense that looked highly suspect against the run in preseason. Questions remain about multiple positions on that defense including spots vital to run stopping, especially nose tackle and middle linebacker. Nose Letroy Guion was limited in preseason due to an injury and MLB Jasper Brinkley was up-and-down at best. Fred Evans might be a better option at the nose at this point, though he himself is highly inconsistent and penalty-prone, and as for MLB…there really isn’t much behind Brinkley, so I guess it’s Jasper’s job.
Even with MJD’s role reduced, the match-up between the Jacksonville run game and the Vikings’ run defense will get a ton of attention. Have the Vikings done anything to shore up what looked like a porous defense in the preseason or is this going to be a running theme? Jacksonville should give them a good first test.