Why Ravens may rest Elvis Dumervil

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh called injured outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil a game-time decision, but you get the sense that Dumervil is not going to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Dumervil hasn't practiced all week with an injured ankle, which I originally considered a precautionary measure because he returned Thanksgiving night after getting hurt. Harbaugh, though, made it sound like Dumervil had a setback.

"Earlier in the week, we felt like he was going to make it," Harbaugh said after Friday's practice. "He's not a guy who has to practice to play. So, if he goes out there and feels like he can go, he will."

There would be some logic in resting Dumervil, and it goes beyond the fact that the Vikings have the second-fewest wins in the NFL. The Vikings are a run-first team with the NFL's leading rusher Adrian Peterson in the backfield, and they could run even more Sunday if the wintry weather hits Baltimore. This would mean Courtney Upshaw, the better run stopper, would receive the bulk of the snaps over Dumervil anyway.

Plus, the Ravens need Dumervil to be at his best for the final three games, when they'll need him to chase down Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady and Andy Dalton. If Dumervil doesn't play Sunday, it'll end his consecutive games streak at 44.