Andrew Sendejo

Thielen, Sendejo Expected To Play Vs. Eagles

The Vikings have not let key injuries at quarterback or running back deter them this season, and their top wide receiver is set to be available in the franchise’s biggest game in eight years Sunday night.

Adam Thielen will play despite being listed as questionable due to a lower back injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. Starting safety Andrew Sendejo will join him in playing despite a recent injury, per Schefter.

One of the more notable receiver breakout stories in recent memory, Thielen played in all 16 of Minnesota’s regular-season games and suited up for the Vikings’ thrilling divisional-round walk-off win. The 27-year-old Division II product landed on the NFC Pro Bowl roster after a 91-reception, 1,276-yard, four-touchdown slate. He missed practice on Wednesday and went through a limited session Thursday.

Sendejo still needs to clear final concussion protocol to play Sunday night, but Schefter reports he’s anticipated to do so. Mike Zimmer said this week he’s optimistic the veteran Harrison Smith sidekick will play; Sendejo returned to practice on Wednesday despite leaving a concussion sidelining him during the Vikings’ Round 2 win.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Packers, Bears

Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo left Sunday’s Divisional Round game after taking a hit to the head, and while he remains in the concussion protocol, he was able to perform limited individual work during Wednesday’s practice, tweets Lindsay Jones of USA Today. While there’s no definitive word on Sendejo’s status, the mere fact that he was able to participate in practice should be a positive sign as Minnesota prepares to face Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game. If Sendejo can’t go, fellow defensive back Jayron Kearse — who played 60% of the Vikings’ defensive snaps following Sendejo’s injury — would see more action.

Let’s take a quick spin around the NFC North:

  • Colts defensive line coach Gary Emanuel has interviewed for the same position with the Packers, according to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter link). Emanuel is currently in limbo given that Indianapolis is expected to hire head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, so he’s taking meetings in the interim. After spending six seasons with the Colts, Emanuel would replace Mike Trgovac as Green Bay’s defensive line coach. Trgovac was fired earlier this month as part of a Packers house-cleaning that also included the termination of defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
  • The Bears are expected to hire Shane Toub as an offensive quality control coach, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Toub, the son of Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, had been working as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois. Additionally, Chicago has also decided to retain linebackers coach Glenn Pires and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson, sources tell Marvez (Twitter link).
  • In case you missed it, the Bears may have interest in adding former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to their offensive staff. Bevell isn’t the only ex-play-caller in contention for a role with Chicago, as former Raiders OC Todd Downing is also interviewing with the club.

NFC Notes: Winston, 49ers, Cards, Pryor

The woman who accused Jameis Winston of groping her in an Uber vehicle in 2016, via Buzzfeed report earlier today, said only she and Winston were in the car at the time. But Winston’s representatives assert there were several people in the car, with the Buccaneers quarterback sitting in the backseat, NFL.com reports. Winston’s statement pointed to there being multiple passengers in the vehicle as well. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links) listened to the voicemail an Uber representative sent Winston, with the phrase “you or someone else in your vehicle engaged in inappropriate behavior” used. This led to Winston being banned from Uber but also has the third-year passer’s representatives saying there were more people in the car than the accuser’s account suggests.

Here’s the latest from the NFC.

  • The knee sprain Drew Stanton suffered will lead to the Cardinals starting a third quarterback this season. Bruce Arians said Blaine Gabbert will start Sunday against the Texans, marking the first time since October 2016 Gabbert will have started a game. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com notes it will be a game-time decision for who will be Gabbert’s backup. Stanton, who sprained a knee against the Seahawks, being healthy enough to be an in-case-of-emergency option will make him the No. 2. If not, recently signed Matt Barkley will serve as the backup. This marks the second time in four seasons the Cardinals have needed to start three quarterbacks. This happened in 2014, when Carson Palmer, Stanton and Ryan Lindley opened with that playoff-qualifying team’s first unit.
  • John Lynch said the 49ers don’t need to see Jimmy Garoppolo start a certain number of games in order to make a judgment about him for the future. The rookie GM the franchise’s view of the longtime Patriots backup has been enhanced by Garoppolo’s first few weeks in San Francisco despite him not seeing game action yet. “We know what we like about Jimmy Garoppolo. And that’s only been strengthened by the time that’s he’s been here,” Lynch said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area). “We’re just going to let these things play out. People have had all these ideas about why we got Jimmy. We got Jimmy because we think he has big-time ability at the quarterback position. And we believe so much – to get where we need to get – you have to have a franchise quarterback. We think he’s got that ability. Whether that happens, when that happens, we’ll see. But we certainly like his future with the 49ers.”
  • Both Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Reed will miss the Redskins‘ Week 11 against the Saints, and Pryor’s ankle injury looks like one that could shelve him for multiple weeks. Pryor will see Dr. James Andrews about his ankle, Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Signed to a one-year contract, Pryor has been demoted from Washington’s first unit and now hopes he can return this season — one that’s doubled as a grim contract year. Center Spencer Long will also miss Washington’s game in New Orleans.
  • On the subject of less-than-ideal contract years, Ziggy Ansah will miss a second straight game with a back injury, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Injuries have limited the Lions defensive end for the past two seasons and figure to be a key part of the discussion once his contract expires after 2017. He has four sacks — all coming in two games — this season.
  • Mike Remmers experienced a concussion protocol setback this week and will miss the Vikings‘ Week 11 game against the Rams, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Andrew Sendejo will also miss Sunday’s game, the safety being out due to groin and hamstring pain. Rashod Hill and Anthony Harris will respectively replace the ailing duo in Minnesota’s starting lineup.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Tate, Vikes, Sendejo

While initial reports indicated Lions wideout Golden Tate would be sidelined for a “few weeks” after suffering an AC joint sprain in Week 6, the veteran pass-catcher participated in practice today, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Tate’s presence at practice certainly doesn’t mean that he’ll be ready to face the Steelers on Sunday, and there’s every reason that he’ll remain doubtful for Week 8 (especially given that he was recently spotted sporting a sling). But it’s a remarkable turnaround for Tate, and gives him a decent chance at being available in Week 9 even if he can’t go against Pittsburgh.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Tate wasn’t the only Lions player to return to practice this week, as offensive lineman Corey Robinson was on the field as well, according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. Unlike Tate, Robinson isn’t currently on the Lions’ active roster, as Detroit placed him on injured reserve in September. The NFL now allows clubs to bring two players back from IR, and Robinson appears to be one of the Lions’ choices — he can practice over the next two weeks, and can be activated in time for Detroit’s November 2 contest against the Browns. Last season, Robinson appeared in 14 games as a reserve and made three starts.
  • Free agent offensive lineman Don Barclay worked out for the Lions today, per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link). Barclay, whom the Packers released off injured reserve earlier this week, appeared in 62 games (24 starts) for the Packers from 2012-16. Given his ability to play guard and tackle, Barclay would give Detroit experience all along the line. The Lions are a bottom-six team in both adjusted line yards and sack rate, and left tackle Greg Robinson — who’s filling in for the injured Taylor Decker — is the league’s second-worst tackle, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo will serve his one-game suspension in Week 8 after his appeal was denied, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Sendejo, who earned his ban due to a hit on Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace, will be off the field when Minnesota faces the Browns on Sunday. Instead, the Vikings will turn to Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse to cover opposite All Pro Harrison Smith. The one-game suspension will cost Sendejo roughly $174K, the amount of a single game check.

Suspension Notes: Lynch, Sendejo

After being suspended for one game for contact with a referee, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch made his case during his appeal of the punishment to league officials. The 32-year-old former All-star reportedly had Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters testify in his defense during the appeal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Schefter further pointed out that Lynch made his entire argument and will likely hear whether or not the suspension has been lifted at some point tomorrow.

  • Schefter also reported an interesting argument that Lynch made to the NFL today regarding his situation. The insider tweets that the Raiders back and his reps made the point that, “9 players, including Aaron Donald and Taylor Lewan last season, made contact with an official; none suspended.” While it appears that Lynch makes a pretty solid case, it still remains to be seen whether the league will ease his punishment and allow him to play next week vs. the Bills.
  • In other suspension news, today we learned that Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo has been suspended for one game because of his hit on Ravens receiver Mike Wallace, NFL Vice President of Football Communications Michael Signora announced on Twitter. The Ravens starting wideout went onto miss the rest of the game with a concussion, despite pleading with coaches to let him continue. The Minnesota defensive back was penalized for a personal foul on the play and will now have to miss their upcoming game against the Browns. The team has backup safeties Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse to help replace the veteran for the contest.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/16

Here are the minor moves NFL teams made on New Year’s Eve.

  • Another Saints cornerback will head to IR, with the team placing Ken Crawley on the season-ending list, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. Crawley will join Delvin Breaux, P.J. Williams, Damian Swann and Kyle Wilson as IR-stationed corners in New Orleans. The team promoted cornerback Taveze Calhoun, a rookie UDFA, from its practice squad to fill the roster spot. Crawley started in five games for the Saints this season.
  • The Bears promoted Josh Shirley from their practice squad, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports (on Twitter). Chicago will be without Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee in its Week 17 game against Minnesota. Shirley resided on the workout circuit for much of this season before catching on with the Bears’ practice squad earlier this month. The 24-year-old UDFA edge defender played in five games for the Buccaneers last year.
  • The Vikings promoted wide receiver Isaac Fruechte from their practice squad, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Minnesota moved safety Andrew Sendejo to IR (Twitter link, via Tomasson) to make room for the UDFA second-year man. Both Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell are doubtful for the Vikes’ season finale, creating the need for some pass-catching depth. A knee issue will end Sendejo’s season prematurely. He finished his seventh NFL campaign with 66 tackles and a career-high two interceptions.
  • It appears the Chargers are going to finish with an even 20 players on IR this season after the team placed cornerback Craig Mager on the season-ending list, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). Inside linebacker Carlos Fields received a promotion from the practice squad as a result.

North Notes: Rudock, Orlovsky, Mallett

Through the first two games of the preseason, Lions rookie quarterback Jake Rudock has outplayed veteran Dan Orlovsky by a wide margin, which has left many wondering who will serve as Matthew Stafford‘s primary backup in 2016. Although Orlovsky entered training camp with a huge lead over the rookie for the backup job, and few expected Rudock to seriously vie for it — indeed, Orlovsky has the game experience that a team looks for in a No. 2 signal-caller, and Rudock did not play very well during Detroit’s offseason program — Rudock’s performance and Orlovsky’s struggles in the preseason may leave head coach Jim Caldwell with a difficult decision. When asked who he expected to win the job, Caldwell said, “the best player, period” (article via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com).

Of course, as Meinke observes, the best player for the short term isn’t always the best player for the long term, so Caldwell’s comments do not add much clarity, and Caldwell would reveal little else about how the Lions would go about choosing between the quarterbacks, other than to say the club is weighing its options. As Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press writes, if the Lions keep all three quarterbacks, you can count on Orlovsky being the No. 2 on gamedays. The real question is who the Lions keep if they carry just one backup, which is usually how New England built its roster when Lions GM Bob Quinn was in the front office there.

Now for a quick swing around the league’s North divisions:

  • In a separate piece, Birkett examines Stevan Ridley‘s roster status, noting that Ridley has surprisingly been relegated to the second half of the Lions‘ first two preseason games. Ridley, the five-year veteran who was expected to challenge Zach Zenner for the “big back” role on offense, played just nine snaps during Detroit’s Thursday night contest. As Birkett notes, however, it is still too early to read too much into preseason playing time, especially since Ridley is easily the most accomplished of the group of backs fighting for a roster spot behind Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Similarly, Caldwell said the Lions are still figuring out their running back rotation, and preseason performance is only one part of the formula.
  • Although it was believed that the Ravens signed veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson to be little more than a camp arm, with Ryan Mallett firmly entrenched as Joe Flacco‘s backup, Johnson has played very well in Baltimore’s first two preseason contests, and head coach John Harbaugh indicated last night that there is indeed a legitimate battle for the backup job between Johnson and Mallett (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). Mallett has also played reasonably well during the preseason games but has struggled mightily during training camp. Whether Harbaugh’s comments have any truth behind them, or whether they are simply intended to motivate Mallett, remains to be seen.
  • Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press believes that the battle for the Vikings‘ starting strong safety spot will again come down to the wire, just as it has in each of the past two seasons. As Tomasson writes, incumbent Andrew Sendejo got the nod in the Aug. 12 preseason opener at Cincinnati before Michael Griffin started in Thursday’s 18-11 win at Seattle. There are two more games left for the two to fight it out.
  • Earlier today, we learned what Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell had to say about his suspension.

NFC Contract Details: JPP, McClain, Stanton

Here are the latest updates on many recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFC:

NFC East:

  • Jason Pierre-Paul, DE (Giants): One year, $10MM. $8.5MM fully guaranteed. $4.25MM signing bonus, $4.25MM base salary. $1.2MM per-game roster bonuses. $300K incentive tied to sacks. $10.5MM max value (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Rolando McClain, LB (Cowboys): One year, $4MM. $1MM available via incentives if McClain plays 75% of defensive snaps (Twitter link via Drew Davidson of the Star Telegram).

NFC South:

  • Michael Hoomanawanui, TE (Saints): Three years, $5.2MM. $1.85MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Kyle Wilson, CB (Saints): One year, minimum salary benefit. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Keith Tandy, S (Buccaneers): Two years, $1.85MM. $250K roster bonus guarantees on fifth day of league year (Twitter link via Wilson).

NFC North:

  • Andrew Sendejo, S (Vikings): Four years, $16MM. $950K 2016 base salary (fully guaranteed). Contains option for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Lane Taylor, OL (Packers): Two years, $4.15MM. $600K signing bonus. Contains $1MM in playtime and workout incentives (Twitter links via Wilson).

NFC West:

Contract Details: Sendejo, Rubin, DHB, Cox

Here are the specifics on a few deals signed in recent days:

  • Andrew Sendejo‘s four-year contract with the Vikings contains a $3MM roster bonus, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). The safety will make $4MM in 2016, and he has another $1MM that will become guaranteed next March.
  • Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin received a $4.5MM signing bonus as part of his $12MM deal with the Seahawks, tweets Pelissero. Rubin will take home $6MM during the upcoming season.
  • Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey got a $400K signing bonus per the terms of his three-year deal with the Steelers, according to Pelissero (Twitter link).
  • Long snapper Morgan Cox‘s new five-year contract with the Ravens is worth $5.6MM, tweets Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun. Cox will receive a $700K signing bonus and net $1.5MM in the first year of the deal.

Extra Points: Campbell, Murray, Cowboys, Suh

Contradicting a report from another outlet, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic writes that the Cardinals aren’t trying to trade Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell, and haven’t received any inquiries from teams asking if he’s available.

Still, while Campbell may not be on the trade block, his situation is still worth keeping an eye on this offseason, as Somers points out. The standout defensive lineman is entering the final year of his contract, and has a cap hit of $15.25MM, making him a prime extension candidate if Arizona wants to keep him around for the long term.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NFL on a busy Tuesday:

  • There was some discussion about the Cowboys, rather than the Titans, acquiring DeMarco Murray from the Eagles, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link). However, Werder says Dallas wasn’t on board with the compensation or the guaranteed money necessary to make a deal.
  • The Dolphins created $16MM in cap room when they restructured Ndamukong Suh‘s contract, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). James Walker of ESPN.com breaks down the specifics.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has the details on Tyrunn Walker‘s new one-year deal with the Lions, which features a $150K signing bonus, $550K in total roster bonuses, and $650K in playing-time incentives.
  • Safety Andrew Sendejo will receive $2.5MM fully guaranteed on his new deal with the Vikings, tweets Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. Goessling adds that Sendejo will make $4MM in the first year and $7MM through two years.