4 biggest takeaways from the Vikings win over the Jaguars in Week 13
By Adam Patrick
A Minnesota defense without Kendricks would be a disaster
After a terrible first quarter, the Vikings defense was able to settle down and contain a Jaguars team that ranked 28th in the NFL in scoring heading into Sunday.
Minnesota allowed Jacksonville to accumulate 239 total yards and average 6.8 yards per play in the first half of the matchup. But then in the second half and in the overtime period, the Vikings were able to hold Jacksonville to 151 total yards and 4.4 yards per play.
Minnesota still probably allowed a bad opposing offense to move the ball up and down the field more than they should have. But the Vikings were without one of their top defenders on Sunday.
During Minnesota’s pre-game warmups, All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks suffered a calf injury and it forced the team to keep him on the bench against the Jaguars. Vikings reserve linebacker Todd Davis did his best to fill in for Kendricks, but the absence of one of the best linebackers in the NFL had a big impact on the performance of the defense on Sunday.
Jacksonville took advantage of Kendricks being out by tossing a bunch of their pass attempts to the tight ends on their roster. A good amount of the balls thrown by Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon on Sunday were also sent toward the middle of the field where Kendricks normally lines up.
Luckily, Jacksonville proved why they are one of the worst teams in the league this year and they weren’t able to really capitalize on Minnesota being without their top linebacker. Against a tougher opponent, however, a similar outcome doesn’t seem very likely.
Let’s say Kendricks’ injury is severe enough that it causes him to miss the Vikings’ next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Minnesota not having their All-Pro linebacker out on the field is going to cause Bucs quarterback Tom Brady to salivate at the thought of all the opportunities he can create for his tight ends and receivers with routes over the middle.
If Kendricks is forced to miss any time due to the injury he sustained on Sunday, it could result in the end of the Vikings’ hopes of getting back into the playoffs this season.