After falling to the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Troy Dye will get to prove he's a starting linebacker in the NFL this season.
Minnesota Vikings starting linebacker Anthony Barr suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the second quarter of the team's Week 2 matchup at Indianapolis. With Barr declared out for the remainder of the contest, Dye stepped up and replaced him in the game.
“I thought Troy came in and did some good things,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said per the Star Tribune. “He had a couple missed tackles, but he ran pretty well. Once Barr went out, it got a little confusing because Eric [Kendricks] was trying to get the calls from the headset and then make the calls and get guys lined up, so that got a little confusing. [Eric] Wilson did fine. We still got a lot of things we got to work on with those guys, but we anticipate that they’ll continue to get better.”
After Barr left the game, Dye played 21 defensive snaps while dealing with an ankle injury. Now with Barr declared to miss the remainder of the season, Dye can step into a starting role.
The Vikings have struggled to begin the season and those struggles extended to Barr before his injury, who has a Pro Football Focus grade of 48.2 in 2020, the worst mark of his career per Vikings Wire.
To replace Barr, the defense will play more of Troy Dye and Eric Wilson, the latter currently being the backup linebacker to Eric Kendricks on the depth chart but likely Zimmer will play whoever he thinks is the best of the two with the other seeing an increased snap count, too.
Heading into his rookie season, the four-time leading tackler for the Oregon Ducks thought he could help the Vikings win and was willing to do whatever it takes, including special teams. He said it best himself, he's "a big team guy."
Any impact I can make whether it's on special teams, whether it's coming in on third down, whether it's different packages. Just any way I can get out there and help the team propel to the next level I'm willing to do because I'm a big team guy. And I love just winning games. So, anything I can do to help win games, I'm going to go out there and give it my all.
Dye has already lived up to that promise playing through an ankle injury sustained in the second quarter Sunday.
The former Oregon Duck will have quite the test in his first week as the starter trying to slow down Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans.
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