With Barr set high, pass-rushing Vikings hitting stride on D
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have hit their familiar stride on defense during the second half of the season, after some uncharacteristic earlier struggles.
There's been no better example of this lately than Anthony Barr.
"He's always been a good player," coach Mike Zimmer said. "I think he's probably taking it to another level right now."
Bears’ Trubisky doubtful, likely to miss 2nd straight game
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was listed as doubtful Friday and likely will miss his second straight game because of a right shoulder injury when the NFC North leaders visit the New York Giants on Sunday.
Trubisky was hurt sliding late in a win over Minnesota on Nov. 18. He was hit by the Vikings' Harrison Smith on the left side, resulting in his throwing shoulder getting driven into the ground.
Mitchell Trubisky works on sliding technique, not passing
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky found a flaw in his game while trying to be patient and sit out with an injured right shoulder.
Trubisky discovered he needs to slide better.
It was while sliding late in a 25-20 win Nov. 18 over the Minnesota Vikings that Trubisky suffered the injury threatening to cost him a second straight start Sunday against the New York Giants.
Vikings place starting safety Andrew Sendejo on IR
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have placed safety Andrew Sendejo on injured reserve, ending his season after a groin injury limited him to only five games.
The 31-year-old Sendejo, the fourth-longest tenured player on the team, latched on with the Vikings in 2011 as a special teams player and has started 58 games over the past six seasons. He has been a fixture in the starting lineup next to Harrison Smith since 2015.
Bears say quarterback Trubisky has right shoulder injury
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears say quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hurt his right shoulder in their victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Coach Matt Nagy did not mention the injury after the game or when he met with reporters on Monday. But the Bears later said Trubisky would not have participated had they practiced. They were required by NFL rules to release a hypothetical injury report because they play Thursday at Detroit.
Vikings’ Harrison Smith voted top NFL safety by AP panel
NEW YORK (AP) — Harrison Smith has been making his mark for years with big hits and clutch interceptions for the Minnesota Vikings.
As a key piece of one of the NFL's top defenses, the playmaking safety was voted the top player in the league at his position by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press.
Cousins, Murray lift Vikings past Darnold, Jets 37-17
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mike Zimmer gathered his team around him in a victorious locker room and let them in on what they just accomplished.
The Minnesota Vikings, he told them, had never defeated the Jets on the road — until Sunday. Kirk Cousins and the rest of his teammates broke out in big cheers to celebrate a 37-17 win.
Vikings Preview Capsule
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (14-4)
New faces: Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, QB Kirk Cousins, DT Sheldon Richardson, PK Daniel Carlson, CB/KR Mike Hughes, C/G Brett Jones, SS George Iloka, WR Kendall Wright, OL Tom Compton, QB Trevor Siemian, OT Brian O'Neill.
Key losses: Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, QB Case Keenum, QB Sam Bradford, QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Jerick McKinnon, G/C Joe Berger, PK Kai Forbath, WR Jarius Wright, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, OL Jeremiah Sirles.
On Mike Hughes: What predraft scouting reports said about the Vikings’ first-round pick
The Vikings made Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes the 30th overall pick in the NFL draft. The first-rounder joins three other first-round picks in the Vikings’ secondary -- safety Harrison Smith in 2010, cornerback Xavier Rhodes in 2013 and cornerback Trae Waynes in 2015. Hughes recorded 49 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass deflections last season. His ability to play outside, inside and on special teams provided “too much value” for the Vikings to pass up, said General Manager Rick Spielman.
The Vikings head into Thursdays first round of the NFL draft with the No. 30 overall pick. They have selected at No. 30 three times before in franchise history: 1962 (WR Bill Miller, Miami, third round), 1980 (CB Willie Teal, LSU, second round) and 1985 (CB Issiac Holt, Alcorn State, second round).
In recent drafts using a late first-round pick, the Vikings grabbed Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson at No. 29 in 2013 and Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater at No. 32 in 2014.
Vikings Joseph, Rudolph, Harrison Smith going to Pro Bowl
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith are going to the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl.
The Vikings said Monday that Joseph will replace Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Rudolph will replace Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, who is unable to participate due to an injury. Smith replaces New York Giants safety Landon Collins, who also is injured.
PHILADELPHIA Vikings cornerback Terence Newman had the perfect and most brutally honest answer to a question about the 53-yard touchdown pass that he and All-Pro first-team safety Harrison Smith surrendered in Sundays 38-7 NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
So, whos the Most Valuable Player of this top-ranked Vikings defense heading into Sundays NFC title game at Philadelphia?
Not that the answer really matters or can be proven right or wrong, but, hey, we need something to argue about between games, right?
I think, said first-team All-Pro Harrison Smith, that I dont know.
Cmon, Harry. It has to be Everson Griffen and those career-high sacks, right?
All-Pro safety Harrison Smith and the Vikings defense werent in the mood to celebrate when they stuffed Saints running back Alvin Kamara for a 1-yard loss with 29 seconds left in Sundays 29-24 NFC divisional playoff win at U.S. Bank Stadium.
At the time, it was a deflating feeling, Smith said.
The Vikings emerged winners on Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints, but one hit didn’t sit well and could have a lasting effect headed into the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia next weekend.
At the end of the third quarter, New Orleans’ comeback attempt was sparked right after Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo was blindsided by Saints receiver Michael Thomas. The hit left Sendejo laying on his back, seemingly in a daze, shortly before he was able to sit up and walk off the field.
‘Zim Reapers’ need playoff wins to match Vikings’ famed ‘Purple People Eaters’ status
A couple of newly crowned, first-team All-Pro defensive backs were bantering with a reporter at Winter Park about Sunday’s potentially epic playoff collision between Hall of Fame-bound quarterback Drew Brees and a top-ranked Vikings defense that seemingly has everything except postseason W’s and a nickname for the ages.
“We got a nickname, right?” said cornerback Xavier Rhodes, nodding to safety Harrison Smith. “They call us the ‘Grim Reapers,’ right?”
Xavier Rhodes usually stands in the middle of the defensive huddle, along the line, waiting to see which side of the field the opponents No. 1 receiver chooses. Then Rhodes follows him.
Rhodes has established himself as a shutdown cornerback, one of the NFLs best at that position. He typically draws the toughest assignment.
- Norfolk Daily NewsChicago Bears come to Trubisky's aid after late hitDecember 24, 2018
- Star TribuneVikings' Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen, Anthony Barr named to Pro BowlDecember 19, 2018
- Star TribuneHarrison Smith remains a marvel in Vikings secondaryDecember 9, 2018
- Star TribuneVikings fans stuffing Pro Bowl ballot box for C.J. HamDecember 8, 2018
- Norfolk Daily NewsMatt Nagy 'feels strongly' that Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky will play vs. RamsDecember 6, 2018
Vikings S Harrison Smith named NFC Defensive Player of Week
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith is the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Smith intercepted two passes and made seven tackles — five solo — as the Vikings shut out interstate rival Green Bay 16-0 on Saturday night.
Smith also had two pass breakups, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback pressure as the Vikings posted their first shutout since Dec. 5, 1993, at Detroit.
The strong safety: Harrison Smith steadies Vikings defense
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Harrison Smith can be a man of few words and big plays.
The Minnesota Vikings safety keeps things simple when he's on the field.
A two-interception night in a 16-0 win over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday left no doubt just how valuable Smith is to one of the best defenses in the league.
Vikings’ five extra points: Harrison Smith highlights team’s third-down dominance
1. Smith pick highlights Vikings third-down dominance
Vikings shut out Packers 16-0, chasing 1st-round bye
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings shut out an opponent for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, beating the injury-depleted Green Bay Packers 16-0 on Saturday night to stay in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye.
Vikings secondary not worried about mixed signals against the Packers this time
There was a miscommunication in the Vikings secondary.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who earlier Tuesday held his fourth annual toy drive at a local Target, was expected to join fellow defensive backs later that evening at safety Harrison Smith’s holiday shopping spree for children. Smith playfully let Rhodes hear about his unexpected absence..
“I promised Britt I’d go to the Christmas party,” Rhodes retorted to Smith. “Our date night.”
How Mike Zimmer put twist on his defensive signature to set up Eric Kendricks’ pick-six
It seemed only fitting the Vikings would seize control of the Bengals by confusing quarterback Andy Dalton with a wrinkle to the Double A Gap blitz package that Mike Zimmer concocted in Cincinnati and parlayed into his first head coaching job in Minnesota.
Zims always got something going, safety Harrison Smith said when asked about linebacker Eric Kendricks 31-yard pick-six early in Sundays 34-7 NFC North-clinching rout at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Best on best: Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes can’t wait to square off with Falcons’ Julio Jones
Actions, not words, will dictate the mood Sunday between two NFL stars at their zenith. And since the better half of Falcons receiver Julio Jones damage against defenses happens on first down, you wont wait long to see fireworks between Jones and Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Arguably the best receiver in the game, safety Harrison Smith said. And arguably the best cornerback in the league, too.
Vikings at full strength at first practice of short week
All 63 Vikings helmets ran around the Winter Park fieldhouse Tuesday, meaning theyre healthy entering the most pivotal game of the 2017 season.
Right tackle Mike Remmers is continuing to work through the concussion protocol as of Tuesday afternoon. He returned to practice and was limited, leaving the door open for his return Thursday against the Lions.
Rams WR Robert Woods to miss time with shoulder injury
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has a shoulder injury that will take him out of the lineup for the playoff contenders.
Coach Sean McVay says Woods will miss a "couple weeks" after he got hurt late in the fourth quarter of a 24-7 loss at Minnesota on Sunday. McVay says the injury will not require surgery.
McVay says Monday that Woods has played "like a complete receiver," so it's a "significant loss" for the team.
Vikings’ five extra points: Latavius Murray shows power, Terence Newman shows football IQ
1. Goffs confidence becomes confusion
The NFL is stocked with size XXXL men who possess uncommon strength. Then there is Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph.
Hes like the Hulk, safety Harrison Smith said. Hes a level up from the normal [NFL] strong.
Joseph is 6 feet, 4 inches and 329 pounds of muscle and intimidation. The room shrinks when he walks through the door. He makes a normal-sized adult feel like a No. 2 pencil.
Hes a strong, powerful man, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
How strong? Joseph once benched 550 pounds. In high school.
Seattle’s Earl Thomas voted top safety in AP rankings
NEW YORK (AP) — Earl Thomas bounced back from a broken leg that had him contemplating retirement to reclaiming his place as the NFL's top safety.
The Seattle Seahawks' playmaking star and defensive leader was voted the league's No. 1 player at his position in The Associated Press positional rankings.
Thomas easily beat out Minnesota's Harrison Smith and Kansas City's Eric Berry in the voting, which was conducted by Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and 10 AP football writers.
The Vikings are 6-2 and coming off a bye week that arrived at the exact midpoint of their season. If ever there was an opportunity to try to determine this year’s Most Valuable Player on the team so far, this is it. It ends up being a lengthy list, a testament to both the balance and excellence throughout roster over the first eight games.
Vikings’ safeties Andrew Sendejo, Harrison Smith discuss challenges of avoiding hits to the head
I asked Andrew Sendejo in the locker room on Sunday to describe his intentions as he closed in on Ravens receiver Mike Wallace like a 210-pound missile three minutes into that days game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Tackle the guy; get the football, the Vikings safety said.
With stars playing unselfishly, Vikings’ defense is suffocating opponents
The sharks roaming the Vikings defense smelled blood. Third-and-long, crowd going nuts, a popgun Baltimore Ravens offense on its heels.
Everson Griffen lives for those moments.
You get to pin your ears back and rush, he said.
To his left, Anthony Barr darted back and forth along the line, making it impossible to know if he was going to blitz or drop into coverage. He pounced on everything in his vicinity Sunday, staying a step ahead of the Ravens offense all game.
Solid Vikings defense will remain a force for years
While there have been questions about the Vikings offense all year, their defense has never been a concern. They are allowing the fewest points in the NFC at 17.2 per game. They are allowing just a 25.0 percent conversion rate on third downs (opponents are 18 -for-72 on third down), just ahead of the Denver Broncos. And they might have the best defense in all of football.
Mike Zimmer’s tales of Darren Woodson prod Vikings’ Harrison Smith to new heights
As a boy, Harrison Smith played running back, favored the offensive side of the ball and loved his Dallas Cowboys jersey with the No. 22 on it.
Smith wanted to be the next Emmitt Smith.
Had he known he would grow up to play free safety in Mike Zimmers defense, little Harry might have spent the 90s in Darren Woodsons No. 28 Cowboys jersey.
MINNEAPOLIS — Aaron Rodgers got hurt on Sunday, but the Minnesota Vikings defense just went about its business when the backup came in.
Green Bay lost their stellar quarterback with a broken collarbone in the first quarter Sunday in what could have a major impact on the NFC North Division race. And when Rodgers went out, the Vikings defense feasted on backup Brett Hundley.
With Rodgers out, Vikings cruise past Packers 23-10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Harrison Smith led Minnesota's defense in a thorough dismantling of Green Bay, as the Vikings knocked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the game on Sunday with a broken collarbone during a 23-10 victory that drastically altered the course of the NFC North.
Smith had 1½ sacks on safety blitzes, a diving interception and two pass breakups, helping the Vikings (4-2) limit the injury-depleted Packers to a season-low 227 yards.
Vikings D takes down Rodgers, dismantles Packers 23-10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers arrived at the Super Bowl site for this season, with a realistic goal of returning to Minnesota in four months for a crack at another championship.
Their chance of returning in February took an awfully big hit when Rodgers broke his collarbone .
With Rodgers out, Vikings cruise past Packers 23-10
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Rodgers has engineered many a last-minute comeback for the Green Bay Packers. He has a dozen victories over the rival Minnesota Vikings in 10 years as the starter.
This time? No chance. Rodgers was long gone, and so was Green Bay's division lead.
Harrison Smith led the Minnesota defense's thorough dismantling of the Packers, who lost Rodgers to a broken collarbone and left with a 23-10 defeat to the Vikings on Sunday that transformed the trajectory of the NFC North race.
Mitchell Trubisky shakes off loss as a lesson learned.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — A fourth-quarter mistake and defeat in his NFL debut did little to deter Mitchell Trubisky's willingness to take a gamble.
Trubisky said on Wednesday he is preparing for the Baltimore Ravens in a short workweek with the same mentality as before his fourth-quarter interception led to Monday's 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Keenum leads 3 scoring drives, Vikings beat Bears 20-17
CHICAGO (AP) — Case Keenum gave the Vikings the lift they needed, and that was just enough to spoil Mitchell Trubisky's highly anticipated debut.
Keenum led three second-half scoring drives after Sam Bradford's troublesome left knee flared up again, and the Minnesota Vikings beat Trubisky and the Chicago Bears 20-17 on Monday night.
Keenum has 3 TD passes and Vikings top Buccaneers 34-17
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Case Keenum gave Minnesota a brilliant performance in relief of Sam Bradford, passing for three touchdowns and a career-high 369 yards without a turnover to guide the Vikings to a 34-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Stefon Diggs had 173 yards receiving and caught two of Keenum's throws for scores, one short and one long.
Dalvin Cook produced 169 total yards plus his first NFL touchdown, which capped a 75-yard drive by the Vikings (2-1) to start the game.
Vikings Preview Capsule
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-8)
New faces: LT Riley Reiff, RT Mike Remmers, RB Dalvin Cook, RB Latavius Murray, WR Michael Floyd, C Pat Elflein, DT Jaleel Johnson.
Key losses: RB Adrian Peterson, LT Matt Kalil, CB Captain Munnerlyn, WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, LG Alex Boone, LB Chad Greenway, RG Brandon Fusco.
The Minnesota Vikings currently know the strength of their team. And in the past couple of off seasons the front office has put the money where the strength is to lock up key players in their prime.
The Vikings ranked No. 3 overall out of 32 teams in defense a year ago in yards allowed at 314.9 per game. The Vikings were No. 6 in points allowed at 19.2 a game.
AP Source: Seahawks send CB Tramaine Brock to Vikings
SEATTLE (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings found a veteran cornerback available just weeks after he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks.
A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the Seahawks traded cornerback Tramaine Brock to the Vikings on Friday, giving Minnesota an experienced option for its secondary just before the start of the regular season.
MANKATO — Minnesota Vikings players have been grinding out training camp so far and only going against teammates in drills. But that changes today, much to the delight of the players.
The Vikings play the first of four preseason games at 6 p.m. today at the Buffalo Bills.
"Yeah, this is the part of camp when guys are getting sick of practicing against one another and you get to play another team," Vikings safety Harrison Smith said. "So it's good no matter which team it is."
MANKATO — After the introductions, the football and the fireworks were over, Prince's "Purple Rain" blared out of the loudspeakers Saturday night at Blakeslee Stadium as the last fans filed out.
The Vikings' purple reign in Mankato was essentially over.
The Vikings will practice here today and Tuesday before officially ending their 52-year run of having training camp in Mankato. But Saturday night felt like the end before a packed stadium of more than 10,500 fans.
MANKATO — For 17 straight NFL seasons, Mike Zimmer has called defensive plays. But the Vikings head coach might cede that role to defensive coordinator George Edwards in order to focus more on other areas of the game.
Zimmer admitted Friday it will be a difficult decision, although he didn't elaborate.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Everson Griffen's contract status was not the most pressing for the Minnesota Vikings.
His value to their pass rush and their locker room was still worth a proactive approach.
Griffen signed a four-year extension with the Vikings on Wednesday, a new deal that would keep the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end under the team's control through the 2022 season. He had two years remaining on the current contract.