FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said top running back Devonta Freeman(Devonta Freeman Jersey), who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, won’t play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Freeman did not practice all week while going through the concussion protocol. His absence means the Falcons will be without the player tied for the league lead in touchdowns (11) and sixth in the league in rushing (764 yards). His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield also is an element the team will miss.
The Falcons now turn to rookie Tevin Coleman, who began the season as the starter after Freeman slowly recovered from a training camp hamstring injury. Coleman, a third-round draft pick from Indiana, has shown flashes with 59 carries for 231 yards and a touchdown. However, he also has had two key fumbles in the past five games.
Coleman attributed last week’s fumble to carrying the ball with the wrong hand. He said his confidence is not shaken as a result of the turnovers.
“My confidence has always been there, but there’s just a few things I have to work that are more into the detail part,” he said. “It’s just being detailed with my work and what I do.
“Yes, [fumbles] can get to you, but it happens to all of us. You want to lock it up, but if it happens, it happens. You just have to get through it and get your mind off it and keep on playing.”
Quinn also ruled out kicker Matt Bryant with a quad strain and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson with a hamstring injury. Bryant will be replaced by newly signed Shayne Graham, who was not with the team Friday while attending his father’s funeral. Graham made 19 of 22 field goals with the New Orleans Saints last season, including a long of 50 yards.
Without Hankerson, the Falcons might utilize rookie Justin Hardy more in the passing game alongside Julio Jones and Roddy White.
The Falcons, now 6-4, are looking to end a three-game losing streak, including two straight at home. Quarterback Matt Ryan has never lost three straight games inside the Georgia Dome.