For the second consecutive year, the Kendricks brothers will stand on opposite sidelines. This time, after the Vikings lost a Week 7 game in Philadelphia last year, it’s for a trip to the Super Bowl.
“I mean it’s pretty cool because we’ve been talking all season and kind of talking back and forth about how good our defenses are,” Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said. “And it helped us get into the position we are.”
Eric and his older brother, Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, finished first and second on their defenses in tackles, with the younger brother leading the Vikings for a third straight season. So whose defense is better? The Vikings’ No. 1 defense in the regular season or the Eagles’?
“I mean,” Eric said, opening his jacket to reveal a Vikings logo.
As the Vikings (14-3) and Eagles (14-3) jockeyed for playoff seeding in the regular season, Eric Kendricks said he exchanged brotherly barbs with Mychal throughout the year through text messages. Now that they’re playing for a trip to the Super Bowl, for whom will the family root?
“I always make jokes, I feel like my brother gets a little bit of an advantage as far as who the family roots for because he’s the firstborn,” Eric said. “But it’s all love though.”
Bradford or Bridgewater?
Coach Mike Zimmer was noncommittal Monday when asked whether quarterback Sam Bradford would remain the Vikings backup over Teddy Bridgewater. Bradford was activated Saturday from injured reserve only two months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
“I don’t know,” Zimmer said. “I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. I’m just trying to finish up the things yesterday that we had to do, then start getting going on Philadelphia.”
Bridgewater was Case Keenum’s backup for eight games before he was inactive for Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff win against the Saints.
Vikings want hit reviewed
The Vikings will send film of the hit that concussed safety Andrew Sendejo to the league office for review, according to Zimmer. Whether Sendejo, currently in concussion protocol, will be ready for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia remains is uncertain.
“I think he’s going to be all right,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes speculated, adding he saw him Monday and “Dejo was just being Dejo.”
Sendejo was blindsided by Saints receiver Michael Thomas on a hit that angered Rhodes and other Vikings defenders. Safety Harrison Smith called Thomas’ hit “illegal” after the game and suggested a double standard for protection of defenseless receivers, but not defenders. The hit was not flagged, but Thomas could be fined by the NFL.
Ham sees daylight
Fullback C.J. Ham didn’t see the hole, so he lowered his shoulders. Then it was like the parting of the Red Sea on third-and-1. Ham’s longest career run went 7 yards on Sunday against the Saints, but he left feeling as if he could’ve had more after stumbling forward in the open field.
“I wish I would’ve kept my legs churning a little more,” Ham said. “The hole just opened straight up. I definitely wish I could take that part of it back, but I was glad to get the first down.”