Michael Vick Injury: Should Vick Even Play on Sunday?

Adam OdekirkContributor IIOctober 1, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles sits on the sideline with an injured right hand in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants defeated the Eagles 29-16.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The answer to this question has a lot to do with what another NFC East QB did last week. Tony Romo and his decision to play with the cracked rib and punctured lung has made it almost impossible for any QB in the NFL to not face extra scrutiny when it comes to possibly missing a game with injury.

It is really the news media who fueled that fire, but it is the reality now, and were Vick to sit out with nothing but a hand contusion, he would be vilified around the country for lack of courage and leadership.

National sentiment about injuries aside, there are still other factors at play that would point to the need for Vick to take the field.

For starters, Vick made national headlines by calling out the referees for not flagging defenses that are very liberal with their contact against him. Vick quickly made a public apology for the attack, but the punch landed and everyone is now waiting to see what kind of impact it will have.

If Vick did not play this weekend, he would risk the value of his message being lost and not capitalizing on the fact that it is fresh in the minds of the officials. Vick needs to take the field, play his game and see what kind of impact his words truly had.

In terms of game planning, Vick owes it to his teammate LeSean McCoy to be on the field and keep defenses on their heels enough for McCoy to continue doing damage in the running game. If Vince Young or Mike Kafka took the snaps, the 49ers would know that the only legitimate threat the Eagles had to run was McCoy (unless Young proved otherwise).

Finally, the Eagles are not in a division like the 49ers and cannot afford to fall behind. Philadelphia needs to treat every game with equal importance, because at the end of the season it could be a win or a loss against one of these NFC West opponents that causes the Eagles to make or miss the playoffs.

The Washington Redskins and the New York Giants both have great opportunities to get to three wins this weekend. The Dallas Cowboys will take their shot against the Detroit Lions as well.

If the Eagles come out with a lazy effort in San Francisco, a game they should win, they are sure to be at least two games behind the division lead and the NFC Wild Card race will get crowded in a hurry. 

Vick needs to do more than play this weekend. The Eagles franchise QB needs to start reminding fans and opposing teams what it was that earned him the big deal in the first place, contused hand or not.