Vikings Safety George Iloka Out For 2020 Season With Torn ACL
In the midst of a day where the one of the Vikings' star defensive ends was traded away and the other opted for season-ending surgery, news also came out that veteran backup safety George Iloka was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL, ending his season.
Iloka tore his ACL in the team's final practice before having several days off with the bye week, per the Star Tribune's Andrew Krammer.
This is a very unfortunate break for the 30-year-old Iloka, who signed with the Vikings last month. He was the team's No. 3 safety, playing 43 snaps in their lone victory this year after Harrison Smith was ejected against the Texans. Iloka also was contributing on special teams and would've likely seen his role continue to grow in that area.
Losing Iloka may not seem like a big deal, but there's a chance his role could've become much bigger in the near future. The Vikings appear to have pivoted to selling after a 1-5 start, trading away defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on Thursday morning. Another player who makes sense as a trade candidate is safety Anthony Harris, who is currently on the franchise tag. A potential trade of Harrison Smith can't be 100 percent ruled out either, though it seems far less likely.
Now, in the event that the Vikings trade one of their star safeties or lose them to injury, they won't have the veteran Iloka to fill in. Instead, they'd turn to sixth-round rookie Josh Metellus, who is currently the only other safety on the active roster or practice squad.
Iloka was a fifth-round pick out of Boise State in 2012 and spent the first six years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. He had a somewhat disappointing stint with the Vikings in 2018, then sat out the entire 2019 season after failing to make the Cowboys' roster.
He obviously wasn't starting in Minnesota, but he was at least back in football and in position to potentially see an increased role going forward. Iloka now must begin the process of recovering and rehabbing from an ACL tear with the hopes of playing again at some point in 2021.
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