FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – New York Jets running back Michael Carter, the team’s leading rusher over the last four games, is listed as doubtful for Sunday with a low-ankle sprain.
The Jets (7-4), who face the Minnesota Vikings (9-2) at U.S. Bank Stadium, are prepared to use a backfield-by-committee – Ty Johnson, rookie Zonovan Knight and James Robinson.
Carter, who took over the starting job when star rookie Breece Hall suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7, was injured in last week’s 31-10 win over the Chicago Bears and didn’t practice this week.
The Jets are confident in Johnson and Knight, who sparked the offense last week. They combined for 131 rushing yards and a touchdown, a 32-yard run by Johnson. Knight, an undrafted free agent from North Carolina State, finished with 103 yards from scrimmage – the most by a Jets rookie in his debut.
Robinson, acquired in an October trade with the Jacksonvile Jaguars, was a healthy scratch last week. On Wednesday, he told ESPN, “Me not playing pisses me off.” He met with running backs coach Taylor Embree Thursday to discuss his role.
“I told him I’d be mad if you weren’t mad you weren’t playing,” Embree said. “I want guys that want to play. He wants to play. He thinks he can help the team win. We’re going to rely on him throughout this season. Our situation is week-to-week.”
Unlike Knight and Johnson, Robinson doesn’t play on special teams, which hurts his game-day value.
Carter, in his second season, has rushed for 370 yards on 99 carries, a 3.7 average. He has three touchdowns. He also has 28 receptions for 209 yards.
The Jets also could a change on their offensive line, with right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (groin) listed as doubtful. Rookie Max Mitchell replaced him in last week’s game, but they could opt for veteran George Fant, who could be activated Saturday from injured reserve. He has missed eight games with a knee injury.
Jets likely to employ RB trio with Michael Carter doubtful