FOXBORO — The New England Patriots had a significant return for their last formal session in preparation for the team’s Week 12 contest against the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving night.
After being feared ‘lost for the season’ less than 36-hours ago, center David Andrews was back on the practice fields adjacent to Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, as one of six players listed with a designation by the club.
Here is Tuesday’s full report, along with its implications for 8:20 p.m. ET. kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-4)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OL Isaiah Wynn - Foot
C David Andrews - Thigh
LB Anfernee Jennings - Back
DB Marcus Jones - Ankle
WR DeVante Parker - Knee
LB Josh Uche - Hamstring
What it means for the Patriots:
While Andrews’ return provided tangible hope that the six-time team captain may be ready to suit up on Thursday night, it is still a bit early to determine his status. The 30-year-old was helped from the field after incurring what was described a serious thigh injury in the first-half of Sunday’s 10-3 victory over the New York Jets. Despite initial reports indicating that he may be out for the remainder of the season, Andrews is attempting to play through it. He was spotted moving well during the limited team drills in which he participated. His status for Week 12 will ultimately be determined by both his pain tolerance and the potential for further injury. If he is unable to play, veteran lineman James Ferentz is expected to start in his stead, while rookie Kody Russey remains an option in reserve duty.
New England’s lone non-participant was tackle Isaiah Wynn. The ex-Georgia Bulldog was present for only 20 of the Pats’ offensive snaps at left tackle on Sunday against the Jets, before leaving the game with a foot injury. Wynn did not return to the game, and was relieved by incumbent starter Trent Brown. The 6-8 lineman was relegated to reserve duty in Week 11 due to a “coaching decision” by Bill Belichick. With Wynn’s availability looking uncertain, at best, New England will look to Brown and Yodny Cajuste to start, with the recently-signed Conor McDermott as their primary back-up.
Return specialist and Week 11-hero Marcus Jones was a limited participant, listed with an ankle injury. Ironically, Jones spent a portion of Sunday’s second-half on the sideline due to said injury. The former Houston Cougar returned in a big way, returning the game’s final punt for 84-yards and securing the victory for New England. While his injury is not expected to keep him out of action in Week 12, his status will be one to watch on the Pats final report on Wednesday.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-2)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Andrew Booth Jr. - Knee
T Christian Darrisaw - Concussion
CB Akayleb Evans - Concussion
OLB Za'Darius Smith - Knee
DL Dalvin Tomlinson - Calf
WR Justin Jefferson - Toe
What it means for the Vikings:
Left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who was forced out of the Cowboys loss with a concussion, did not participate in practice on Tuesday and is almost certainly sidelined for Thursday night. Darrisaw is arguably Minnesota’s key cog in run blocking. This may allow New England’s run defense to dedicate multiple resources to contain Vikings’ star running back Dalvin Cook. New England’s run-stoppage unit currently ranks 13th in the NFL, allowing 114.5 yards per game and 17th in average yards per carry (4.47).
Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith is the Vikings most fearsome pass rusher, having logged 9.5 sacks on the season. When taking under account New England’s futility along the offensive line, Smith’s status may have significant implications on quarterback Mac Jones’ ability to buy time in the pocket and evade pressure.
Jefferson’s listing as a full participant all but guarantees his availability for Week 12. The Vikings’ two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro wide receiver has been dealing with a toe injury, which may have played a role in being held to 33 receiving yards in Sunday’s 40-3 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys. However, if Jefferson is at full strength, New England will struggle to contain one of the NFL’s most explosive wideouts. The LSU product set the 2022 NFL single-game high with 193 receiving yards during the team’s Week 10 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
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