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Zimmer: Vikings aren't a dirty team

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he owes Anthony Barr an apology after criticizing the second-year linebacker for shoving Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford out of bounds and drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty late in Sunday's vic...

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he owes Anthony Barr an apology after criticizing the second-year linebacker for shoving Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford out of bounds and drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty late in Sunday’s victory over the Lions.
Zimmer talked to an NFL official this week about an unrelated matter and initiated the subject of quarterbacks leveraging the sideline for more than just protection.
“These quarterbacks now are starting to slow down as they go out of bounds, kind of egging these things on,” he said Wednesday. “(The league official) said, ‘Yeah, it probably should not have been called.’
“I saw it in a couple other games where they step out late. He was running parallel and kind of slowed down. What (the unnamed official) told me was (officials) do not give protection if (players) slow down. They need to try to get out of bounds.”
That was Barr’s contention after being flagged 15 yards, a penalty Zimmer described Monday as “dumb.”
Minnesota was penalized 10 times for 97 yards against the Lions, including a personal foul on left tackle Matt Kalil for hitting a linebacker after the whistle.
Lions receiver Golden Tate, without elaborating, told Detroit media on Monday the Vikings “110 percent” took several cheap shots.
“After watching the film, there were several holds, late hits that I think should have been called, and a couple of them I wouldn’t be surprised if we turned them in (to the league office),” Tate said. “But then again, that’s part of playing on the road. You got to control that by not making the game close and busting it wide open, so that’s what we should have done better. But there were a few plays out there I think were clear violations of this game.”
Zimmer dismissed the allegations.
“That doesn’t bother me. I know what kind of team we are. We’re not dirty,” he said. “We try to do things the right way. We want to be a physical football team that’s teaching proper technique. We’re not trying to cheat the rules, and I don’t want our football team to be put at a disadvantage because other people are trying to beat the rules.
“I want our guys to know the rules, play by the rules and play fair.”
GRIFFEN FLAGGED TOO OFTEN IN OPENING TWO GAMES
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has been penalty-prone throughout his career, and he figures now is the time to change that.
The six-year veteran had two penalties in each of Minnesota’s first two games. He was called for illegal use of hands and offsides in the Sept. 14 opener at San Francisco - and then flagged for those same penalties last Sunday against Detroit.
“I’m trying to fix it,’’ Griffen said Wednesday. “It’s just something that you’ve just got to fix. ... It’s just having the want-to to do it and going out there and just doing it. I want to improve it.’’
Griffen’s penalties have hampered the Vikings. Against the Lions, he had an offsides call on third-and-5 that gave them a first down and an illegal-use-of-hands call on third-and-11 that gave them a first down after a 3-yard gain.
At least Minnesota won that game 26-16. The Vikings weren’t so fortunate in the opener. In their 20-3 loss to the 49ers, Griffen had an illegal-use-of-hands call on second-and-10 that gave San Francisco a first down after a 1-yard gain. He also had an offsides call on a third-and-12, though the 49ers did not get a first down that drive.
“I have two (illegal-use-of-hands calls) the past two games, so I have to focus on striking better and not get hands to the face,’’ Griffen said.
PETERSON LIKES GORDON’S AGGRESSIVE RUNNING STYLE
When Melvin Gordon lived in Wisconsin, he enjoyed watching Adrian Peterson.
The roles were reversed this week, with Minnesota’s six-time, Pro Bowl running back observing the show that Gordon, the Chargers’ rookie running back, put on last week against the Bengals.
“I like what I’ve seen so far,” Peterson said Wednesday.
The two running backs will be opponents Sunday in Minnesota, where the Chargers will try to rebound from the Week 2 loss whose top San Diego highlight may have been Gordon’s 88-yard rushing performance.
Watching Gordon this week, Peterson said he and fellow Vikings running backs expressed amazement at an “incredible” run that netted 20 yards at Cincinnati.
Peterson ticked off several of Gordon’s stylistic traits that he likes - “real nice feet,” “quick in between the tackles” and a “downhill” approach to which he’s partial.
“I’m looking forward to meeting him this week,” Peterson said.
The rookie is similar in size to Peterson, who was listed 6-foot-1½ - an inch taller - and 217 pounds when he entered the 2007 draft.
Against the Bengals, Gordon had rushes of 20, 26 and 27 yards. He gained 5.5 per carry.
Of course, Peterson has had some impressive rushes, too. In 2007, when Gordon was a high school player in Wisconsin, the rookie Peterson, playing in his eighth game, rushed for an NFL-record 296 yards against the Chargers.
Gordon has said he watched Peterson and other aggressive all-time greats such as Walter Payton.
“It feels good to be a trendsetter, to be a guy looked at as an inspiration to younger guys in the league,” Peterson said. “That’s a standard I want to leave behind when I leave this game...It makes me feel good. It makes me feel I served my purpose the right way. Another back that comes in, he runs with the same mentality, and now he’ll be able to inspire kids to run like Gordon.”

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