Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson set an NFL record for longest kickoff return with a 109-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff of a 44-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field.
Patterson’s return also tied the NFL record for longest play, which coincidentally also took place at the Metrodome. Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for the San Diego Chargers in a 2007 game against the Vikings.
Patterson, who had a 105-yard return at Chicago in Week 2, joined Percy Harvin as the only returners in team history with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season.
“No matter where the ball is kicked, I feel like I’m going to return it,” Patterson said. “I have a coach who believes in me. Wherever the ball is, I’m going to bring it out. I have to give it all to my blockers. They set it up one way and I go that way, then there’s a wide-open hole for me.”
Jennings talks it out
While Vikings receiver Greg Jennings didn’t speak to the media after Sunday’s game, Aaron Rodgers touched on his lengthy postgame chat with his former teammate.
“We have a lot of good memories together,” the Packers quarterback said. “I’m not going to talk about what was said. If you want to talk to him about that, I’m not sure he’s going to say anything, but you can talk to him about that.”
The two met near midfield after the game and were surrounded by cameras as Jennings, who had only one catch for 9 yards Sunday, said a few words into Rodgers’ ear while they hugged.
Jennings was critical of Rodgers during the offseason when he signed to the Vikings, questioning his leadership skills among other multiple rants he had. Yet Jennings changed his tone during the week of Rodgers and the organization he spent seven seasons with and actively sought out Rodgers after the game.
Former safety Joey Browner became the 21st member of the Vikings Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony.
Browner joined Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause as the only defensive backs inducted into the ring. Browner, who played for the Vikings from 1983 to 1991, earned first-team All-Pro three times and was selected to the Pro Bowl six consecutive seasons. He was named to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1980s.
Browner collected 1,098 tackles in a Vikings uniform, fifth most in team history. His 37 interceptions rank fourth, and his 9½ sacks and 18 forced fumbles lead all Vikings defensive backs.
Asked if there is only one statistic or part of his game that he’s most proud of, Browner said, “Pain.”
“My job was to wreak havoc and mayhem so I took pride in that,” he said. “My job was to intimidate folks in a good way. I was legally paid to do this. I enjoyed it.”
Browner earned a reputation as a hard hitter and ferocious tackler. He noted he played in a different era when there weren’t as many rules and player safety was not a leaguewide initiative.
“The horse collar was my signature tackle,” he said. “You get them down by any means necessary.”
Browner, however, said he could have adjusted his game to meet today’s standards and said too many defensive players invite scrutiny because they call attention to themselves.
“The thing is, if you play that way all the time, they don’t look at you wrong,” he said. “If you [make] a play and you jump up and say hello to all your boys, got to text them. They’re tweeting now. That’s why you get a lot of guys get fined. They act like they’ve never been there before.”
Former Vikings and Packers safety Darren Sharper returned to the Metrodome as a media member. He worked the game as sideline reporter for Westwood One Radio.
Sharper played eight seasons for the Packers, followed by four seasons with the Vikings. He grabbed nine interceptions in 2005, his first season with the Vikings.
In studying the Vikings, he said he was impressed by safety Harrison Smith, who was placed on injured reserve/designated to return because of turf toe. Sharper was known as a safety who freelanced and took chances, and he sees some of those qualities in Smith.
“He can do it all — make plays on the ball, tackle as well,” Sharper said.
• At 7 p.m., 30 minutes before kickoff, the Vikings posted a four-second video on Facebook of Patterson catching balls in the end zone. Posted with the video was this statement: “First play of the game- Cordarrelle Patterson TD?”
• Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford (ankle) and defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) were in the lineup. Both were listed on the injury report as questionable. Sanford left in the second quarter because of a groin injury, however.
• The Vikings inactives were quarterback Josh Freeman, cornerback Shaun Prater, tight end Rhett Ellison, running back Matt Asiata, guard Jeff Baca, receiver Rodney Smith and defensive tackle Chase Baker.