NFL: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have won the NFC South for the fourth consecutive season after defeating the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas but will now move forward without a key piece to their defense. Linebacker Kwon Alexander tore his Achilles tendon on Friday and will now miss the rest of the season, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Alexander suffered the injury in the second half of the Week 16 opener and had to be carted to the locker room. 

The 26-year-old was acquired by the Saints in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers back in early November and quickly adopted a key role within Sean Payton's defense. In seven games played for New Orleans, Alexander had 27 tackles, two fumble recoveries and four passes defended. 

With Alexander now sidelined for the year, the Saints will likely lean on Alex Anzalone, who started prior to Alexander's arrival, and others to replace him along the front seven.  

The former fourth-round pick began his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the Niners back in March of 2019. Alexander still has two seasons remaining on that contract, but New Orleans can get out from under his deal rather easily this offseason and clear $13.4 million off their cap. That flexibility already painted a rather uncertain future for Alexander, and now this injury could further cloud it.