The Minnesota Vikings starting safety will be sitting out again this Sunday and he hasn’t played in a game for the team since Week 5.
During the first five weeks of the season, the Minnesota Vikings gave up an average of 26.2 points per game to their opponents. In the Vikings’ last four matchups, they have seen that average drop down to 18.3 per game.
The reason for this improvement can be attributed to a number of factors. Everything from who Minnesota has played most recently, adjustments the coaching staff has made since the early part of the season, and which players have been out on the field for the Vikings.
One guy who has not suited up for Minnesota during their last four games is starting safety Andrew Sendejo.
Sendejo has been dealing with a groin injury and he has already been ruled out for the Vikings’ matchup against the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
In his place, Minnesota has been using a combination of players including Anthony Harris, George Iloka, and Jayron Kearse. They may not have the amount of experience in Minnesota’s defense that Sendejo has, but these three have still been able to hold their own.
Is his absence playing a factor in the Vikings’ recent improvements on defense? It’s certainly possible.
Without Sendejo on the field, Minnesota doesn’t have to worry about him drawing a 15-yard penalty for an unnecessary hit or missing a tackle that results in a big play for the opposing offense.
So what the Vikings lose in experience without Sendejo in the lineup, they make up for in lack of recklessness.
Minnesota even performed well without their safety on the field last season too.
During the three games Sendejo sat out in 2017, the Vikings gave up an average of just 175 passing yards to their opponents. Compare that to the 196.4 yards through the air Minnesota’s defense allowed per game when he actually was out on the field last year.
Would the Vikings like to have Sendejo back on the field this season? Of course, but their performance without their starting safety this year definitely doesn’t have Minnesota rushing to get him back out there sooner than necessary.