The 2020 season has come to an end for Kenny Golladay.
Golladay will not play in Sunday's regular-season finale against Minnesota Sunday at Ford Field, interim head coach Darrell Bevell said Thursday.
Golladay, who dealt with hamstring and hip injuries this year, played in just five games and finished with 20 receptions for 338 yards (16.9 average) and a couple touchdowns.
The focus now shifts to the future of Detroit's former third-round pick, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
The Lions and Golladay haven't been able to come to an agreement on a long-term contract up to this point. Those talks could obviously ramp up after the Lions hire a new general manager and that person evaluates the roster and settles into their role. The team also has the franchise tag available to them, though Golladay said recently he'd prefer a long-term contract over the use of the tag.
There were a lot of expectations for Golladay coming into the 2020 season after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, and his first selection to the Pro Bowl last season after leading the league with 11 receiving touchdowns.
Bevell said earlier in the year that the hope for Golladay in his fourth season was to take the next step in his development and become a consistent No. 1 receiver like DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas. Obviously, injuries prevented that from happening.
"It's a very hard season to assess with what he was able to do," Bevell said of Golladay this week. "He wasn't able to be out there enough for us this year to really, I think, make those steps that I was hoping that he'd be able to make.
"So right now, obviously he's not there. Does he have the ability to be there? I think he does, and obviously that's what we're looking for from him. But the most important thing for him is to get healthy, get his body right and then be able to handle the rigors of a 16 game plus season."
Golladay's played in all 16 games just once in his career (2019), and has twice been limited to just five games – this season and his rookie year in 2017. He played 15 games in 2018.
But when healthy and available, there's no doubt the Lions are a better offense with Golladay. He has a terrific catch radius, and his 16.9 yard average is fourth highest in the NFL this year among players with at least 20 receptions.
Golladay's future in Detroit is one of the big decisions coming up for the new regime.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT STAFFORD
There's no denying how tough Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is, and even though he's dealing with thumb, rib and a right ankle injury suffered early last week, the 12-year veteran said this week he wants to play in the regular-season finale Sunday, if he's healthy enough to do so.
Stafford sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday, but Bevell said Stafford wouldn't have to practice this week to still be able to play Sunday.
"Matthew – you're going to have to convince me a lot that this guy is not going to go," Bevell said Thursday. "He's as tough as they come, tough as nails. He wants to be out there. I think, really, those two things are probably the most important.
"If the guy wants to – I always say this, I always say that your mind is a powerful thing. You can do a lot if you just believe in that. The guy wants it. There's not a doubt in my mind that he won't make it happen, but obviously, we're going to continue to go through the week and see how it goes."
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020.
The Vikings currently rank sixth in total offense, and as a member of the Vikings media pointed out in Bevell's media availability Thursday, Minnesota has a chance to finish in the top 10 in total offense for the first time since 2009, when Bevell was the Vikings' offensive coordinator.
Minnesota will have to accomplish that feat without the league's No. 2 rusher, Dalvin Cook, who isn't expected to play Sunday following the passing of his father, James Cook, this week.
The Vikings are sixth in the NFL in rushing, averaging 143.6 yards per game, and even without Cook, Bevell and the Lions still expect the run game to be a huge component of the Vikings' attack Sunday.
"I don't think it's going to change much," Bevell said. "(Alexander) Mattison also is a great back. They've done a nice job of building the whole thing. It's kind of how they shaped it, how they built it, and I think they'll continue to do that."
Mattison returned to Vikings practice Wednesday after sitting out last week due to a concussion. Mattison has rushed 75 times this season for 339 yards (4.5 average) with a touchdown. He's more than capable of handling lead-back duties against a Lions' defense that enters this week's matchup ranked 28th in run defense, allowing on average 134.8 yards per contest.