ORCHARD PARK, NY — Josh Allen’s status remains high in the air for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, with Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott saying the team is taking a measured approach with its star quarterback.
“We’re literally in an hour-to-hour situation here,” McDermott said Friday, “just watching him go about the day and as he goes through his various medical tests to make sure he’s able to tick the boxes.” and progress to where we can see if we can continue here during the day.”
Injured in Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets, Allen is dealing with a right elbow injury to the ulnar collateral ligament and related nerves, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Monday.
Allen was not present during the short portion of training that was open to media access on Friday. He has not attended training this week and McDermott has declined to say what his work has been behind the scenes. Allen was in training during the off-media portion to help his teammates on the field.
“I mean, of course Josh can be a little down,” wide receiver Gabe Davis said. “I mean, he’s a competitor, he wants to play, he wants to be healthy. It sucks when injuries happen, but he’s positive. He coaches and helps us with things he knows and helps Case [Keenum]and we’re all just holding onto all that information and getting ready to go.”
Allen has not missed a game since his rookie year in 2018, when he also sat out four due to a UCL injury to his right elbow.
If Allen can’t play, Keenum would make his first start with the Bills after the team acquired him from the Cleveland Browns in the off-season. Keenum has only played out of hand games this year, completing 2 of 7 passes. Keenum, who played for the Vikings in 2017, went 2-0 last season as the Browns starter.
“I think we may have planned this from the start,” McDermott said. “And so we’ll see where it goes. I think the other thing you need to bring in now is the potential for the weather on race day. And here we go, in terms of that could be the case for the rest of the season So we do our best.
“Ultimately, Josh has to be Josh, if he can play. And if Case plays, Case has to be Case and lead the attack.”
Allen was injured on the final run against the Jets when defensive lineman Bryce Huff hit his throwing arm, resulting in a fumble with a strip bag that was recovered by Buffalo. Two plays after the hit, Allen threw a 69.3-yard pass intended for Davis—the longest pass attempt in the past six seasons, according to NFL Next Gen Stats—but it fell incomplete and ended the game.
The quarterback accounted for 82% of the Bills’ total haul and 92% of their offensive touchdowns, both the highest in the NFL.
The offense of the Bills, who have not scored a passing touchdown in the past six quarters, may change a bit now that Allen is not in the lineup, but major overhauls are not expected with Keenum on the field.
“For the largest part, [the offense] doesn’t change,” said wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. “Case goes out to throw the ball, throw the ball to his boys, and he’s going to have fun. I mean, he probably can’t run as well as Josh, but I’m pretty sure if he has to go out into the open field, he’ll make a few moves. … I feel comfortable with Case. I’m pretty sure everyone else is comfortable with Case, and if Case plays on Sunday, we will.”