The 3-3 Jets wrap up their so far successful homestand with an important game against a tough interconference opponent in the 3-2-1 Minnesota Vikings today at MetLife Stadium, with kickoff coming shortly after 1 p.m. ET. And they'll do it with players stepping up on the depth chart due to injuries at wide receiver and defensive back.
The Green & White's prizes for a victory over the Vikings are obvious. They would remain undefeated all-time at home against Minnesota at 6-0. Having already secured their first two-win three-game homestand since 1998, they would achieve their first 3-0 homestand since 1974.
Most important, the Jets would rise back over .500 at 4-3, in time to hit the road for two games, against the rejuvenated Chicago Bears and at the Miami Dolphins, their AFC East rival whom they lost to at home in Game 2.
Rookie QB Sam Darnold, set to make his seventh pro start and his fourth in front of the MetLife home fans, will have a revamped wide receiving corps to throw to in today's expected windy conditions. Quincy Enunwa (ankle) is inactive and Terrelle Pryor (groin) was released Saturday. Darnold's wideout targets include Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, Andre Roberts, Charone Peake and Deontay Burnett, Darnold's old USC target who was signed from the practice squad Saturday.
In the secondary, three veterans won't be facing the passes of Minny QB Kirk Cousins — CBs Trumaine Johnson (quad) and Buster Skrine (concussion) are again inactive, as is S Marcus Maye with a thumb injury sustained last week vs. the Colts.
But Doug Middleton and Terrence Brooks have manned the safety position in Maye's absences, and at corner, head coach Todd Bowles said Friday, "We've got a bunch of guys to play with — Parry [Nickerson] and [Darryl] Roberts and Rashard [Robinson] and [Juston] Burris — and we'll go with that." Middleton will start for Maye at S and Roberts for Johnson at CB.
The Jets' full inactive list for the Vikings:
- CB Trumaine Johnson
- S Marcus Maye
- CB Derrick Jones
- CB Buster Skrine
- LB Kevin Pierre-Louis
- WR Quincy Enunwa
- DL Folorunso Fatukasi
Peake (hamstring), also a key special teams contributor, will be active for the first time in four games, and LB Tarell Basham, acquired on waivers from Indianapolis on Oct. 5, will be active for the first time.
- QB Kyle Sloter
- RB Dalvin Cook
- S Andrew Sendejo
- LB Devante Downs
- T Riley Reiff
- DE Everson Griffen
- DT Linval Joseph
For only the third time, the Jets will wear their Nike Color Rush uniforms. They previously had worn the kelly green jerseys and pants only for two home Thursday night games against the Bills — the 22-17 loss in 2015 and the 34-21 victory last year.
For the second consecutive game, the referee will be overseeing his first Jets game. Last week Alex Kemp was the ref. For this game, Shawn Smith is in charge. The NFL promoted Smith in June from his umpire role, where he had worked for three seasons, with the retirement of Terry McAulay.