Minnesota’s star running back will not see the field again in 2021, but he is still having a big impact on the team.

During the season opener, Mohamed Ibrahim was already looking like the same player from 2020. His tough running style was paying off with a big night against Ohio State. Unfortunately, his night – and season – was cut short by an injury.

Despite being out for the year, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford still believes Ibrahim’s fingerprints will be on the offense throughout the year. His role as a leader is still as important as ever:

“There’s no replacing Mo Ibrahim, and Mo’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be a humongous part of our offense and a humongous part of our leadership,” said Sanford per 247 Sports. “I talked to him today on his birthday I want to wish him happy birthday here as well, but Mo’s role might even increase even more. I know it sounds crazy, and statistically it might not show up that way, but from a leadership perspective, his role is going to be critical. He really is one of the best leaders and one of the most dialed in football players I’ve ever been a part of, even when he’s not playing, which the thing that people don’t see.”

It is a shame that Ibrahim will not be physically able to play this season, but it is great to hear that he remains a vital piece of Minnesota’s team makeup. It will be interesting to see what that looks like moving forward.