Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

November 22, 2018 at 1:34 am.

–After rushing for 22 yards as a team in the loss last week to Chicago, Minnesota slipped again to 31st in the league in rushing. The Vikings are averaging 84.7 yards per game. Arizona is last at 78.8. But as Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings are hovering around their same yards-per-carry pace as they had last season. Minnesota has averaged 4.01 yards per carry but has 211 rushes, the third-lowest total in the league.

“We’ve got to run the ball efficiently,” running back Latavius Murray said. “I think that’s a combination of everybody doing their job. If we’re able to do that and we’re able to stay on schedule, then (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) will feel a lot more comfortable calling some more runs. We need to get more calls.”

–Quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown for 2,947 yards this season for Minnesota, the seventh-highest total in the NFL. It’s the most passing yards through 10 games to start a season in team history. But turnovers have become an issue. Cousins has four interceptions the past three games and seven this season. He also is tied for the league lead with four lost fumbles.

“You need to learn from them,” Cousins said of the interceptions. “You need to talk about them, be coached and hear your coach’s thoughts. And talk to your teammates about it, take ownership for it, and then move on with that gained experience. That’s the way it is with every game and with every setback or failure you have. This past week is no different. I’d like to think I’ll be a better quarterback come this Sunday and the rest of the season.”

–Defensive end Everson Griffen has played three games in his comeback from a mental-health issue and said he’s still working through the process of recovery. Griffen said he needs to play faster and admitted to playing a bit a slow against Chicago. He has 1.5 sacks and five tackles in the past three games.

“I’m still figuring it out, still working,” Griffen said. “I take it day by day and I’m having fun with it. I’m enjoying it more each and every day. It’s still a process. I’m just enjoying being back with my team and enjoying working. I’m just excited for this game coming up and being at U.S. Bank Stadium.”

–Safety Anthony Harris is making the most of his opportunities to start alongside Harrison Smith. Harris has started the past three games as Andrew Sendejo’s groin injury continues to keep him out of the lineup. Harris had two interceptions in Sunday’s game and has nine tackles the past two games.

“He’s a very smart player, very visual, sees things well so he can anticipate and get breaks,” Zimmer said. “Very rarely does he make mistakes. There were a couple the other night, but yeah he’s doing good.”

–Minnesota had two players currently slated as starters in Pro Bowl balloting released Wednesday. Smith, a three-time Pro Bowl player, leads all vote-getters at free safety. Danielle Hunter, who is second in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, owns the second-most votes at defensive end behind Houston’s J.J. Watt. It would be the first Pro Bowl for Hunter, who is in his fourth season.

–Minnesota is well aware of its 0-3 record in prime-time games this season. The Vikings have lost 38-31 to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, as well as 30-20 to the New Orleans Saints and 25-20 to Chicago on Sunday nights.

“Obviously these prime-time games, we haven’t done well in any of them,” Murray said. “So, we need to put on a good show.”

Those three teams have a combined record of 26-5.

–Zimmer was asked Wednesday of his thoughts on Monday night’s offensive explosion between the Rams and Kansas City that featured 105 total points and 1,001 yards. The noted-defensive mind wasn’t a fan.

“It’s not my cup of tea,” Zimmer said. “Might run me out of football.”

–Zimmer was full of quips on Wednesday. Asked if he’s a “pie guy or turkey guy” for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal, Zimmer responded, “Probably a wine guy.” Of course, many of Zimmer’s Thanksgivings have been spent on the field when he was a coach with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s also been Minnesota’s coach for a pair of Thanksgiving Day games at Detroit.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – Sunday’s game will feature three of the top five most targeted receivers in the NFL. Quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers certainly have their favorites. Minnesota’s Adam Thielen leads the league, averaging 11.5 targets per game this season. Teammate Stefon Diggs is right behind, second with 11.4 targets per game. Green Bay’s Davante Adams is tied for fifth in the NFL, seeing an average of 10.6 targets per game.