The Jets will be without at least three players against the Vikings as head coach Todd Bowles ruled out WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle), S Marcus Maye (thumb) and CB Buster Skrine (concussion) Friday. The team could be minus an additional three players as cornerback CB Trumaine Johnson (quad), WR Terrelle Pryor (groin), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) did not practice and were listed as doubtful. While a second consecutive week, RB Isaiah Crowell was listed as questionable and will be a gameday decision.
As for the secondary, head coach Todd Bowles said, “We have a bunch of guys to play with” and listed Darryl Roberts, Parry Nickerson, Rashard Robinson, Juston Burris and Derrick Jones. Defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson added Roberts, who’s lined up in place of Johnson since Week 5, has improved since last season and he’s also pleased the way Nickerson is competing.
“The game is new for him, he’s never played at this level,” Wilson said of the rookie. “But he’s getting better every time he gets out there. He’s playing physical, he’s playing tough, he’s being aggressive. Parry is a smart player.”
With Enunwa out and Pryor doubtful, the Jets will likely make an addition to the receiving corps whether they call up Deontay Burnett from the practice squad or sign a street free agent.
“We’ll deal with that after this, but he’s been taking some reps,” Bowles said of Burnett. “We also worked out some guys and we’ll make a decision after this shortly.”
A Complete Tight End
Rookie Chris Herndon tallied his first career touchdown reception the Colts in Week 6, but his pass-catching skills aren’t the only thing that have impressed Jets tight ends coach Jimmie Johnson.
“He’s a guy that can be a complete tight end,” Johnson said. “He did a pretty good job coming out of college already knowing how to block a little bit and he did a good job of catching the ball when they threw it to him.”
Herndon, a fourth-round pick from Miami who has seven catches, enjoys his time in the trenches because it’s a chance to “dominate somebody.” Over the past three games, the tight end group has become more involved in the aerial game and totaled 125 yards and two scores on 11 receptions.
“It’s awesome what Chris has been able to do and all the tight ends really,” quarterback Sam Darnold said. “They play such a huge role on this team. With what they’re able to do in the run game for us, sometimes in the pass game, pass protecting as well. And then in the pass game obviously catching football, it’s awesome what they are able to do every single week.
“And to get Chris going was really cool because he was my roommate for a while during camp and all that. It was fun to be able to connect with him on a couple of balls.”
Herndon and the rest of the tight ends could be more in focus Sunday as the Jets will be down WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle sprain) and potentially WR Terrelle Pryor (groin).
“The best thing about them is they can play fullback, they can play wide receiver and they can play tight end, so they are flexible” coordinator Jeremy Bates said. “It allows us to put a little pressure on the defense because they don’t know what personnel group we are actually in. All four of them work together, they encourage each other, they challenge each other, they push each other and they are continuing to get better also.”