Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was fined $20,054 by the NFL on Friday, Sept. 14, for a hit last Sunday on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Richardson was penalized for roughing the passer after landing on Garoppolo in the fourth quarter of Minnesota's 24-16 victory at U.S. Bank Stadium. Richardson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he will appeal the fine. "I just got it. ... I'll see what I can get (taken) off of it," he said Friday. After last Sunday's game, Richardson disagreed with the call.
ST. PAUL — In the event anyone thought Mike Zimmer had criticized Aaron Rodgers, he wanted to set the record straight Thursday, Sept. 13. The Vikings coach on Wednesday said about Rodgers, "He walks on water, so I'm sure he's going to play.'' The Green Bay quarterback suffered a sprained left knee in the first half last Sunday against Chicago and was taken off on a cart. But he returned for the second half and led the Packers back from a 20-0 deficit to win 24-23.
EAGAN, Minn. — During training camp, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo wore a cap with these words on the front: "Make Football Violent Again." Teammate Sheldon Richardson agrees. The Vikings' 295-pound defensive tackle was miffed at being penalized for roughing the passer in last weekend's 24-16 season-opening victory over the San Francisco 49ers. He said this week that football is "meant to be violent."
MINNEAPOLIS — No teammates have complained to Xavier Rhodes about his player rankings. At least, not yet. The Vikings' all-pro cornerback published a first-person story in The Players' Tribune on Tuesday, Sept. 11, in which he ranked the top seven players in the NFC North. He ranked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers No. 1 and included three Vikings players in his list: safety Harrison Smith at No. 3, Rhodes at No. 4 and defensive end Everson Griffen at No. 6. Any complaints so far?
MINNEAPOLIS — Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews saw plenty of Adrian Peterson in previous seasons. Now, he has high praise for another Vikings running back. Dalvin Cook will face the Packers for the first time Sunday at Lambeau Field. Cook was a rookie last season, but tore his left ACL in Week 4 and didn't play against Green Bay.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Kirk Cousins was watching Aaron Rodgers last Sunday night, he figured something special was about to happen. The quarterback had returned from a sprained left knee suffered in the first half, and Green Bay was down 20-0 in the third quarter. But Rodgers engineered a dramatic comeback for a 24-23 Packers win. "I found myself sitting on my couch as I watched, saying to my family and friends that I was watching with, 'He is probably going to bring them back,' '' Cousins said Wednesday.
EAGAN, Minn. — Bryan Witzmann didn't expect to be cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, but at least he gets to come home. The St. Paul native started 13 games at guard last season for the Chiefs before being released on Sept. 3. He signed with the Vikings on Monday, Sept. 10. "I was definitely surprised, but I know how this industry works and sometimes they think they can get by with younger, cheaper guys," he said Wednesday. "Obviously, it sucks to get cut, but I'm happy to be home."
EAGAN, Minn. — Eleven months after his tackle broke Aaron Rodgers' collarbone, Anthony Barr is scheduled to face the Green Bay quarterback again this weekend. Barr isn't reading much into that. "It's another football game," the Vikings linebacker said of Sunday's game at Lambeau Field. On Oct. 15, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium, Barr hit Rodgers after he had rolled to his right and thrown what would be an incompletion. No penalty was called and Barr wasn't fined, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy called it "an illegal act."
ST. PAUL — So was it a Willis Reed moment when Aaron Rodgers returned from a knee injury to lead Green Bay to a dramatic comeback win Sunday night over the Chicago Bears? Ask Willis Reed. "Well, I wouldn't say that, but, I mean, it's a great moment," Reed said Tuesday, Sept. 11, in a telephone interview. Reed has great respect for Rodgers and calls him one of the best NFL quarterbacks ever. But he reminded that his big return-from-injury moment with the New York Knicks in 1970 happened in Game 7 of the NBA Finals rather than the opening game of a season.
EAGAN, Minn. — Aaron Rodgers has no doubts about playing against the Vikings this week. His coach isn't as optimistic. After the quarterback returned from a left knee injury Sunday night, Sept. 9, and brought Green Bay back from a 20-0 deficit in the second half to defeat Chicago 24-23 at Lambeau Field, Rodgers told NBC, "I'm playing next week." Packers coach Mike McCarthy tapped the breaks Monday.