RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expects defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to play Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings despite being listed as questionable with a core-muscle injury.
Clowney didn’t practice Wednesday, then was limited the last two days following the team’s off day on Thanksgiving.
“We just practiced him very lightly today, but he did well yesterday and he’s fine,” Carroll said. “He should be ready to go.”
Defensive tackles Jarran Reed (ankle) and Al Woods (foot) are also listed as questionable, as are linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) and tight end Luke Willson (hamstring). Carroll said Reed is expected to play and that Woods “looked fine” in practice Saturday after resting his sore foot this week. Kendricks’ and Willson’s statuses won’t be known until closer to game time.
Fullback Nick Bellore (quad) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (groin) are doubtful. The Seahawks listed six players on Saturday’s injury report as having an illness due to a bug that’s gone around the locker room, but Carroll said all of them are expected to be available.
Clowney’s injury stems from the Seahawks’ overtime win over the 49ers in Week 10. He finished that game — his best of the season — but missed Seattle’s win over the Eagles last Sunday, which followed a bye week. Clowney traveled to Philadelphia ahead of the team to see Dr. William Meyers, who specialized in core-muscle injuries. He noted that most trips to Dr. Meyers are for surgery, which Clowney isn’t ruling out down the road.
“I told him to hold that off,” Clowney said of surgery. “So I’m holding that off and trying to finish this season. If it was a lot of games left, it’d be different. But we ain’t got many. … I just told him I think I can get through those and try to help this team.”
Carroll referred to Clowney receiving an unspecified “treatment” from Dr. Meyers.
“He just took a look at my MRIs and told me what I was dealing with,” Clowney said. “No treatment, really. But it got me feeling better this week, and I’m just looking forward to this game. It’s a big one.”
The 26-year-old Clowney has arguably been the Seahawks’ most impactful defender even though he has only three sacks. He ranks fourth in the NFL in ESPN’s pass rush win rate at 26.6%. That metric, which is powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, measures how frequently a defender beats his pass block in 2.5 seconds or quicker. He has scored two defensive touchdowns and ranks 13th in the NFL with 35 pressures, according to ESPN charting.
Clowney is unsigned beyond this season and wouldn’t be eligible to sign a new deal with the Seahawks until the regular season ends, per the rules for players who were assigned the franchise tag, as Clowney was by the Houston Texans. The Seahawks agreed to not use the tag on Clowney as part of the deal they made to acquire him from Houston right before this season.
“I kinda knew what I was dealing with,” said Clowney, who previously had surgery for a core-muscle injury he dealt with during his rookie season with Houston. “Like I said, it’s something I’ll just have to manage throughout the rest of the season, but I need to be here playing right now.”
“It’s not as bad,” he said of his current injury. “It’s not anything that crazy. I’ve just got to make sure I stay on top of it and keep it from flaring up or anything going on. During the game, stuff’s going to happen. Being physical with guys, you expect to put strain on it a little bit throughout the game. Just hope for no setbacks week to week.”