The Vikings’ biggest scare in Sunday’s low-scoring affair came at the end of the third quarter, when left tackle Riley Reiff was pulled from the game after injuring a knee.
Coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn’t think Reiff’s injury is “anything serious.” Reiff calmed the twitch of nervous Vikings fans by staying on the sideline in full pads, even though he didn’t go back into the game.
“Feeling all right,” Reiff said after the game, declining further comment. “We’ll know more tomorrow.”
The Vikings offensive line also lost left guard Jeremiah Sirles to what was initially diagnosed as a sprained knee, a source told the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling. Rookie Danny Isidora took his first NFL snaps on offense.
“I watched quite a bit when [Isidora] first got in there, thought he did pretty good,” Zimmer said. “He got to the second level, did a nice job. I saw Rashod [Hill] a little bit, didn’t notice him.”
Hill, a second-year undrafted lineman, replaced Reiff at left tackle. And the fact quarterback Case Keenum still has not taken a sack in nearly 100 dropbacks showed Hill’s admirable play.
With Reiff and offensive line coach Tony Sparano in his ear, Hill helped the Vikings churn out two fourth-quarter drives that ate up nearly nine minutes of precious clock.
“He did great, really stepped up,” Reiff said of Hill. “I just told him what [the Ravens] were doing, what their guys were doing. Trying to give him all the pointers I could.”
Defensive end Everson Griffen wore his motivation on his shoes Sunday, honoring his late mother, Sabrina, with custom cleats that featured her face and the title “Best momma in the world” scribbled across the side.
And on a day when Griffen’s mother-in-law, Rebecca Brandt, a breast cancer survivor, served as honorary captain, the Vikings’ team captain did what he does best. Griffen notched two of the team’s five sacks, giving him at least one in seven straight games. He’s one shy of the franchise record of eight straight, held by Jim Marshall (1969) and Jared Allen (2011).
“We are winning games. That’s all that really matters,” Griffen said. “I’m just going out there and beating my man when I get the opportunity.”
Thin at wide receiver
The Vikings and Ravens were hard pressed to play a modern NFL game on Sunday. The two teams combined to deactivate five receivers: Stefon Diggs and Michael Floyd for the Vikings; Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Maclin and Chris Matthews for the Ravens.
Then former Vikings receiver Mike Wallace, the Ravens’ receiving leader, was knocked from the game on his first catch.
Safety Andrew Sendejo’s hit on Wallace was flagged for unnecessary roughness as Wallace was rocked above the shoulders. He was ruled out because of a concussion.
Receiver Jarius Wright led the Vikings with 54 receiving yards, marking the first time Wright has been the Vikings’ leading receiver since December 2015.
Birk draws applause
Former Vikings and Ravens offensive lineman Matt Birk drew applause from the announced crowd of 66,751 at U.S. Bank Stadium while being interviewed on the Jumbotron during a timeout.
Sideline reporter Greg Coleman asked Birk what he’d do if he were NFL commissioner for a day. Birk replied with a three-issue stance: allow offensive holding, all games will be played on real grass and everybody will stand for the playing of the national anthem.
• Vikings receiver Adam Thielen is the only NFL player with at least five catches in every game this season. Thielen caught five of 12 targets for 41 yards on Sunday.
• Linebacker Eric Kendricks didn’t have a single tackle for a loss this season, until Sunday. Kendricks led the Vikings defense with four tackles for losses against the Ravens.