‘[It] Did Get Him Rusty’ — Miami Dolphins’ Vic Fangio Gets Candid About Christian Wilkins’ Hold-In

Christian Wilkins' play has come on in recent weeks, and Miami Dolphins DC Vic Fangio has a theory why.

You can always count on Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to provide honesty when most of his peers would provide coach-speak.

The latest example?

His blunt assessment of the impact of Christian Wilkins’ contract hold-in during training camp.

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DC Vic Fangio on Miami Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins

Fangio was asked about Wilkins’ play through five weeks of the NFL season during his Thursday media availability. Here was his response, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“I think his play has been good. I think it’s improving. I do think the layoff he had in training camp, after the first 10 days or so when he did partake in it, did get him rusty. But I think he’s back to where he was then. I see no effects of his contract situation affecting him.

Back in August, Wilkins declined to participate in most training camp drills and all of the preseason games in protest of his contract situation. He’s earning $10.8 million this year on his fifth-year option, and presumably believes he’s worth twice that.

But he also has been 100% on board since his return to full participation, and said after his hold-in ended that he’s “just focused on being the best teammate I can be and being there for my guys and getting ready to play a game and get focused on the season.”

Wilkins never considered demanding a trade but instead has elected to bet on himself in this contract year.

So far, he hasn’t made the kind of plays that will get him that $20 million AAV contract his peers have in recent months.

MORE: Miami Dolphins Depth Chart

Wilkins through five weeks has 19 tackles (10th on the team), one tackle for loss (tied-ninth), and 1.5 sacks (fourth). He does have six quarterback hits, one off the team lead.

Five of those six hits have come in the last three weeks — a data point that supports Fangio’s assessment that Wilkins has improved.

“I feel like the biggest thing is just having each other’s back,” Wilkins said Monday. “Like there might be times here when the defense whatever and the offense picks it up, or the offense whatever or special teams or someone picks it up.

“I feel like we have each other’s backs but we’re still fighting hard, working hard, to have more consistent or complete games from everybody.”

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