It appears the Detroit Lions will have at least one Pro Bowl pass rusher on the field when they face the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving day.
So far this season, the pass rush for the Motor City has been inconsistent. And that’s mainly due to injuries. But it appears that the Detroit Lions‘ defensive line may receive a bit of a boost when they face the Minnesota Vikings later on today.
Detroit’s front seven has been fraught with injuries all year. During the Lions’ first preseason game, the team lost defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. for the season due to an Achilles’ tear. Hyder led the Motor City with 8.0 sacks in 2016. The Lions also lost five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for the season after he suffered a bicep injury in Week Five.
Dominate pass rusher Ziggy Ansah missed all of training camp and the entire preseason due to a high-ankle sprain and a mysterious knee injury. It’s been a bit of a down-year for Ansah, who has played eight games this season and recorded 4.0 sacks.
Luckily, the 28-year old defensive end is now expected to play against the Vikings today according to NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales, despite missing the last two games due to a back injury.
In the final season of a four-year, $18.59 million deal Ansah signed back in 2013, it is unclear if the Lions will even attempt to re-sign Ziggy to a long term deal or not.
With the Lions’ rushing attack needing a boost, Detroit found themselves a seven-time Pro Bowler on the waiver wire this week. Dwight Freeney, a 16-year veteran and likely first ballot Hall of Famer, was surprisingly waived by the Seattle Seahawks this week. That’s despite Freeney recording 3.0 sacks in four games for the Seahawks.
But Seattle’s loss is Detroit’s gain as Freeney is expected to bolster the Lions’ defensive line as a situational pass rusher. Something the 37-year old has proven he can still be effective at.
Unfortunately, Freeney has already been ruled out for the Lions’ Thanksgiving matchup with Minnesota. The veteran defender just played on Monday night for the Seahawks. And although he quickly made the trip to Detroit in an effort to make it in time to play, the Lions have opted to sit him for this contest.
The return of Ziggy Ansah and the eventual addition of Dwight Freeney may offer just enough of a boost to their pass rush to help this Detroit Lions’ club earn their third playoff berth in four years.