If you needed any reassurance, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has let it be known that he undoubtedly plans on returning to football next season.
Wilfork suffered a torn Achilles tendon against the Atlanta Falcons in week four. The Achilles injury is one that takes a long time to recover from, and can be a recurring issue. Some players, such as the case of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs in 2012, can return to form in less than a year. For others, the problem can persist. Considering Wilfork is a 32-year-old massive athlete who weighs at least 325 lbs, it is fair to question how an injury like this could affect him.
For Wilfork, however, there is no question that he will return, telling Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, “I’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind. That’s not even a question. People can worry about it. But not me. I’ll be back.”
Wilfork hasn’t exactly been content watching from the sidelines, admitting that “it’s always frustrating. The only thing I do, the only thing I know how to do is play football. And I can’t do it right now. But things happen for a reason. The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll get healthy soon.”
It certainly seems that Wilfork has the right attitude and mindset for what will certainly be a trying offseason for the big man. Knowing how hard he’s worked in his first ten NFL seasons, I have no reason to doubt that he will come back and perform at the levels that we’re used to.
That being said, it only is a matter of time before the wear and tear of the game takes a toll on him. And as 2013 has painfully taught us, the Patriots need a contingency plan for Wilfork in the form of a run-stuffing defensive tackle the Patriots can also pair with him at times.
Look for the Patriots to target such a player in the first two to three rounds of the NFL Draft come April.