The news on New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is terrible. According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, the Patriots all-pro defensive tackle has torn his achilles tendon:
league source: Vince Wilfork has torn Achilles - almost certainly ends his season— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) September 30, 2013
To say this is a major blow to the Patriots defense would be a major understatement. Wilfork is the heart of this unit - a unit that has seen vast improvements to start the season. Without Wilfork clogging the middle, the Patriots become much more vulnerable up the middle.
The depth the Patriots had at defensive tackle was already thin. They have a strong starter in Tommy Kelly - but he was struggling with his endurance down the stretch of the Falcons game. After him, the next player in line is rookie free agent Joe Vellano. Vellano had a sack on Matt Ryan and has shown the ability to be a solid interior rusher, but he's not the type to anchor the interior of the defense.
The Patriots will likely need to add a veteran at the position in the coming days. Interestingly enough, the top option on the free agent market is former Patriot Richard Seymour. Seymour has made it pretty clear in the past that he has no intention of returning to New England, but if he and coach Bill Belichick can bury the hatchet, both sides could benefit with a reunion.
As for Vince, this is a tough blow. A fan favorite, a hard worker, the heart of this Patriots team... get better big guy!