Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

NFL crackdown on hits draws questions

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Vikings players, Ray Edwards Updated: October 19, 2010 - 3:33 PM

The big talker around the NFL this week continues to revolve around news that the league will begin suspending players for dangerous hits -- particularly helmet-to-helmet blows -- after a handful of vicious hits injured players last weekend.

Those types of illegal hits have generally resulted in fines and/or ejections, but the league is taking a tougher stance after several players suffered concussions on Sunday.

We caught up with Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards and former Viking Joey Browner at an NFLPA event in St. Paul in Tuesday to get their reaction.

"Just like when they tell us how to hit the quarterbacks, we’re going to continue to play ball," Edwards said. "If we get fined, you get fined. But the suspension stuff is taking it a little far. It is football. We all signed up to play this game. Things happen. You can’t alter the way you play the game. I understand you’re doing it to protect the player but don’t take away from the game."

A number of players have voiced similar concerns. It will be interesting to see if suspensions -- or the threat of them -- will lead to fewer dangerous hits like we saw Sunday. Both Edwards and Browner said players can't change their focus or the way they approach the game.

"No, just play football," Browner said. "That’s what your job is."
"In terms of letting them play aggressively, just go and play," Browner added. "Let them make the call because when you’re out there and your job is to make a play, you’ve got to make a play."
Browner was asked for his reaction to some of those violent hits Sunday.
"I thought that was football man," he said. "I’m old-school. That’s just called playing football. I don’t know no other way to describe it."



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