Vikings may not have to face Julio Jones on Sunday

(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Julio Jones
(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Julio Jones /

The status of the All-Pro Atlanta Falcons wide receiver for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings is apparently up in the air.

Leading up to their season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons this week, the Minnesota Vikings have been preparing to face one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL in Julio Jones.

Since entering the league in 2011, Jones has developed into a dangerous weapon for the Falcons’ offense and his impressive production has earned him two First-Team All-Pro selections. Stopping him is likely near the top of the Vikings’ priorities for this Sunday’s matchup with Atlanta.

Well, at least it was.

There’s now a possibility that Minnesota will catch a big break and Jones may sit out this week’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Atlanta receiver is in the middle of negotiating a new contract and he was asked on Thursday if he would suit up on Sunday without a new deal.

"“I don’t know. What I’m trying to do right now is be ready. It’s not if I’m going to play or if I’m not going to play. I’m trying to be out there, regardless. The ultimate thing is just being ready when my number’s called.”"

Jones later followed up his response by saying that he, “plans on playing,” this week, but The Athletic’s Jason Butt noted that there is still some skepticism in the air regarding the receiver’s status for Sunday.

This should be pretty obvious, but it would be a tremendous advantage for the Vikings’ defense if Atlanta has to play without their top receiver this week. The Falcons still have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. But Jones just being out on the field makes everything easier for Atlanta’s offense.

Despite Jones’ comments on Thursday, Minnesota should still be preparing as if he will be playing this week. Especially since ProFootballTalk also reported on Thursday that the receiver and the Falcons have possibly agreed to terms on a new deal.

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It’s something to pay attention to as Sunday’s game gets even closer. But until it becomes a reality, don’t expect the Vikings to be lucky enough to face Atlanta without Jones in the lineup.