The Jets will receive a boost on the interior of their defensive line with DT Sheldon Rankins scheduled to return to the lineup Sunday against the Vikings. Rankins, who sustained an elbow injury in the Jets' Week 9 win over the Bills, has missed the past two games.
"Knock on wood, he's been having such a nice year," HC Robert Saleh said of Rankins. "Effective pass rushing, he's been disruptive in the run game, veteran leadership, knows how to play the game. So, getting him back is always good."
Without Rankins, the Bears ran for 127 yards last week while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. This week, the Jets will line up against Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, who ranks No. 6 in the NFL with 841 rushing yards.
"Yeah, I think we would all agree it wasn't to our standard in that way and I think it's also an indication that from a defensive perspective we're moving in the right direction," DC Jeff Ulbrich said of the run defesnse. … "Yeah, we held them to 10 points, but it wasn't as clean as we would like it to be. What a great opportunity to show up our run defense against a really good running team like this is."
In other injury news, RB Michael Carter (ankle) and T Cedric Ogbuehi (groin) are doubtful while S Ashtyn Davis (hamstring) has been ruled out. The Jets could elect to activate veteran T George Fant (knee) from injured reserve Saturday after Max Mitchell returned to the lineup against Chicago.
Garrett Wilson-Justin Jefferson
Jets rookie WR Garrett Wilson, who has drawn comparisons to Vikings WR Justin Jefferson, will take the field against one of his idols Sunday. Wilson said he's modeled parts of his game to the All-Pro wideout.
"I watch him a whole lot," Wilson said. "He's a baller. I've been studying him for the last three or four years now. … He doesn't seem like he's overthinking his routes. He's true to his movement. He embraces how he moves and didn't try to copy another receiver. He is fun to watch, so I'm excited to watch him this weekend."
Jets TE Tyler Conklin, who played with Jefferson in Minnesota from 2018-21, sees the parallels between Jefferson and the rookie wideout who leads the Green & White with 49 receptions, 628 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns.
"They both have those long strides and crazy legs at times," Conklin said. "Even after the catch, they are stepping back and forth and sliding past people. … They are different in the sense that Justin's a little bigger and longer and Garrett's probably a little more twitchy and shifty, but I see a lot of similarities."
See the top practice images leading up to the Week 13 matchup against the Vikings.
Back to Basics
After surrendering a game-winning punt-return touchdown against the Patriots in Week 11, the Jets special teams bounced back against Chicago, surrendering a total of 12 return yards. CB Justin Hardee also downed a punt at the one-yard-line after Braden Mann's 56-yard boot.
"Against New England, everyone is looking at that and thinks we did something different, but they just got a good play," Hardee said. "So we went back against Chicago, we went back over the basics and stuff and tried to dominate our game plan and I feel like we did really good."
Vikings RB-KR Kene Nwangwu returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown last week against the Patriots and leads the NFL with 620 return yards. Hardee, who was on the losing end of the Minneapolis Miracle with the Saints, looks forward to the challenge of silencing the fans at U.S. Bank stadium.
"They are great test that coming ahead," Hardee said. … "Minnesota, man, is a hell of a hell of a place to play. Great football environment, man. They got crazy loud fans and their little chants. But it will be even better to go shut them up."