Denver Broncos veteran defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson had himself a nice game against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, as he recorded his first sack of the season and added another hit on Tom Brady. However, Vickerson also sustained a serious hip injury in the loss, and it was initially reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Vickerson would have to miss at least six weeks with the dislocated hip.
The Broncos apparently don’t want to wait around for Vickerson to heal, as the Denver Post’s Mike Klis reports that the Broncos will likely place Vickerson on the injured reserve. Klis tweeted that Vickerson’s timeline to return is closer to eight weeks than six, and that’s simply too long to keep a mediocre player on the active roster. Vickerson does some nice things for the defense and is a decent veteran starter, but the Broncos can’t afford to keep him on the 53-man roster for eight weeks at this juncture of the season.
That means UNC rookie Sylvester Williams needs to step up, since he figures to play a key role as an interior pass rusher in a rotation with other Broncos DTs. Mitch Unrein looks to be the most adept at picking up Vickerson’s run defense, since that was Vickerson’s biggest asset. While Vickerson wasn’t all that good, the Broncos will still want to find away to replace his run defense, hopefully with somebody who doesn’t commit nearly as many penalties as Vickerson did.
It will be interesting to see what Williams does, as this is a huge spot for the rookie. The Broncos have plenty of talent in the front seven, especially with Von Miller already back to his elite level of play. And with “Pot Roast” Knighton beasting all year, the Broncos interior should be sturdy even without Vickerson.
Keep in mind that Vickerson hasn’t already been placed on the injured reserve, but it’s clear that it’s the best direction for the Broncos. They need roster flexibility most at this point, and they should be able to move past Vickerson’s injury with ease, especially if they get solid production out of the “next men up” (I use “men”, since there figures to be a rotation involved).