Eric Wilson has been an unexpected surprise for the Vikings this season. The former undrafted free agent has been one of the best linebackers in the NFL, compiling 90 tackles, three interceptions, three sacks, and five tackles for loss. Per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, the 26-year-old leads his position in combined interceptions, forced fumbles and opponent fumble recoveries (six total), and that’s earned him the nickname “walking turnover” from fellow linebacker Eric Kendricks.
Wilson didn’t miss a game through his first three seasons in the league, but he only started 10 contests. He’s started 11 games already this season, but his sudden improvement didn’t come as a huge surprise to the organization.
“Ever since Eric’s been here, he’s been able to back up both positions when Anthony [Barr] and Eric [Kendricks] were in there, and whoever went down, he just went in in that position,” co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer told Cronin. “It’s something he’s done in the past, which helps, but it’s a real tribute to the kid, how he just steps in and doesn’t miss a beat playing a completely different position in the sub [package].”
Wilson’s breakout season came at the right time; the linebacker is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the season.
Let’s check out some more notes out of Minnesota:
- Vikings running back Alexander Mattison will miss another week as he recovers from surgery for appendicitis, per Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com. The 22-year-old has appeared in 11 games this season, rushing for 338 yards and one touchdown on 74 carries. For the second-straight week, Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah will serve as the backups to Dalvin Cook.
- Meanwhile, tight end Kyle Rudolph is listed as doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Buccaneers (per Tomasson). The veteran is currently dealing with a foot injury, but he’s determined to maintain his 98-game starting streak (including playoffs). “He’s a pretty fast healer, so we’ll just see,” said head coach Mike Zimmer. “He’s been getting a lot of treatment, and he wants to play really bad. So I don’t want to count him out yet.” The 31-year-old has 28 receptions for 334 yards and one touchdown this season.
- With Mattison sidelined, the Vikings are eyeing some free agent running backs. Tomasson reports (via Twitter) that Khalfani Muhammad was in Minnesota this week for a workout with the Vikings. The California product was a seventh-round pick by the Titans in 2017, and he’s also spent time with the Patriots, Broncos, and Cardinals.
- In case you missed it, the Vikings signed tight end Hale Hentges off the Colts practice squad earlier this week. The 2019 undrafted free agent out of Alabama saw time in 11 games for Washington last season, hauling in eight receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown.