Josh Allen will start in Week 10 for the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The quarterback's status was trending this direction after Allen was not one of the Buffalo Bills' seven designated inactive players after being listed as questionable with an elbow injury he suffered in their 20-17 road loss at the New York Jets in Week 9.
He will be making his 64th consecutive start as he hasn't missed one since Week 10 of the 2018 season, his rookie year. Allen is coming off his worst game of the season, recording his first game without a passing touchdown this season as well as season-lows in passing yards (205) and passer rating (46.8), thanks to suffering the elbow injury and a swarming Jets defense. Life doesn't get any easier in Week 10 as he will face Vikings linebacker Za'Darius Smith, the NFL's pressure percentage leader (20.3%) among those with 100 or more pass rushes.
"It's tough to do that right now because he hasn't practiced," McDermott said before Friday's practice when asked about how he's gauged Allen's progress. "We are literally in an hour-to-hour situation here, just looking at how he's going to progress through the day as he goes through his different tests medically making sure he's able to check the boxes in a progression to where we can see if we can proceed through the course of the day here."
Specifically, Allen was reportedly being evaluated for an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and related nerves after telling reporters after Sunday's loss that he was feeling "slight pain" in that right throwing elbow. McDermott said earlier in the week that the organization will, in part, use "common sense" in determining whether or not they'll send Allen out there.
According to a report from NFL Media earlier this week, Allen had expressed confidence to teammates that he'll be able to play Sunday. With him returning on a limited basis on Friday, it will be interesting to see if the Buffalo brass opts to progress more cautiously with their franchise quarterback or trot him out there.
If they had chosen to hold him out of this game, veteran backup Case Keenum would have gotten the start. Keenum started 14 games for the Vikings in 2017, helped the club to an NFC North title, and led them to an NFC Championship game appearance following the "Minneapolis Miracle" in the Divisional Round.
More recently, Keenum was acquired by Buffalo in a trade with the Cleveland Browns this past March and has been serving as the primary backup.
"This is not Case's first day with us, nor is this process new to Case in terms of his role or potential role," said McDermott. "He's been through this before. We have full confidence in Case and Matt Barkley. We shape a game plan accordingly to what we know right now."