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Joseph says Vikings 'better' than 2011 Super Bowl champ Giants

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph shouts in victory after stopping the New York Giants on a third down during a game last season. (John Autey | St. Paul Pioneer Press)

MINNEAPOLIS—Nose tackle Linval Joseph won a Super Bowl ring six years ago with the New York Giants. Now he's going after another with the Minnesota Vikings.

Asked Friday, Dec. 1, how the two teams stack up, Joseph didn't hesitate.

"This team is better," Joseph said. "It's a different team, a younger team and we're hungry and we want a ring and want to just keep winning one game at a time and just keep doing our job and just keep proving to everybody that we're a good team."

The Giants in 2011 went just 9-7 in winning the NFC East before getting hot in the playoffs and winning four straight games, including 21-17 over New England in Super Bowl XLVI. The Vikings are 9-2 and have won seven straight entering their game Sunday, Dec. 3, at Atlanta.

When told about Joseph saying the Vikings are better than those Super Bowl-winning Giants, linebacker Anthony Barr wasn't surprised.

"He better say that," Barr said. "I don't know what else he would say. If he said we were worse than them, he'd need to find somewhere else to go. He's going to ride with us for sure."

Joseph played for the Giants from 2010-13. The quarterback during his tenure was Eli Manning, who has won two Super Bowls with the Giants before being benched this week, ending his streak of 210 straight games started.

"It's sad to see," Joseph said about the move. "Eli is a great player, and he made a lot of plays and gave the Giants a lot of wins, and I hate to see it. But that's life, man. It really is life. It happens to all of us."

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had considered before the season giving up defensive play calling to coordinator George Edwards to focus on a more overall management of games. That didn't happen, and Barr isn't sure if Zimmer ever will give up calling plays.

"I think he likes doing it," Barr said. "He's been doing it for a long time. He just probably feels more into the game and in more control, so I don't think it's going to change."

Barr has been wearing the defensive headset regularly since 2015. He said nothing really has changed this season with Zimmer giving him the play calls.

"He gets his couple seconds of calling the play and I've got to relay that as quick as possible to the guys," Barr said. "It's pretty similar."

Thielen and Moss

Wide receiver Adam Thielen often has talked about idolizing Randy Moss while growing up. He had a chance this week to tell the former Vikings star that in person.

Thielen sat down at Winter Park for an interview with Moss, an ESPN analyst. It will air on "Sunday NFL Countdown."

"It was cool," said Thielen, a native of Detroit Lakes, Minn. "He was absolutely a guy who pretty much got me wanting to play the game and play the position."

Thielen said Moss "didn't really have too much of a reaction'' when told he had been his idol. The two talked plenty off camera.

"He gave me some pointers on things that he used to do, and I remember seeing him do those things," Thielen said. "They were little things like in the route, how to use your speed and when to use your speed.

"He was really cool. The first thing he said when we sat down was he kind of appreciated the way I played the game, and he likes how I kind of attack it every week."

Briefly

—Vikings hall of fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who lives in Atlanta, will attend Sunday's game as a guest of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. Tarkenton will get his first in-person look at Minnesota's Case Keenum, who has been scrambling around lately in Tarkenton-like fashion.

—Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly, who grew up outside Atlanta, will play in his first NFL game in the city. "I'm really excited to play a game in front of my friends and family,'' he said. "It means a little bit more.'' In the last three games, Weatherly has played 58 of his 71 defensive snaps this season.

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