Guard Mike Remmers said the Vikings got a confidence boost from their 23-21 victory at Philadelphia, but that the offensive line would like to lower the degree of difficulty on some of the throws quarterback Kirk Cousins on Sunday.
Cousins was hit on 10 of his 37 pass attempts, but he made some game-defining completions with the talented Eagles’ front in his face. On the Vikings’ longest play, a 68-yard completion to receiver Adam Thielen, Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox worked past Remmers to hit Cousins.
“I don’t want him to get hit at all, but it happens,” Remmers said Monday. “They’re a really good defense, and unfortunately the quarterback gets hit sometimes. We’re just trying to get the least amount as possible.”
Remmers, a six-year NFL veteran, still is settling in at guard after making his professional debut there at the end of last season. He said of his own play, “There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
But that also goes for most of his teammates up front.
“It’s been different playing a whole season instead of just having a few games under my belt,” Remmers said of playing guard. “It’s something where I’m learning a lot each and every game and feel like I’m continuing to grow. There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Nose tackle Linval Joseph’s 64-yard fumble return for a touchdown didn’t surprise teammate Sheldon Richardson, because as Richardson says, he’s raced Joseph “a couple times in the offseason, so I know he can run.”
But Joseph carries about 30 more pounds than Richardson.
“Yeah, I’m faster,” Richardson said.
The Vikings defensive line combined for five hits on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz — including three sacks. Richardson credited better execution and a little more freedom in the scheme from Vikings coaches.
“Some of the calls in the game plan were more free for the defensive line to make plays,” Richardson said. “But everybody on the back end was covering better; we were stopping the run, so can’t really complain. It was a good complement all the way around.”
Reputation a factor
Safety Andrew Sendejo has to be wary of another fine after he was flagged for unnecessary roughness at the end of Sunday’s game. The penalty, in which Sendejo’s helmet briefly made contact with Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz’s helmet, was “not a good call,” said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.
As close as the call might be, Sendejo still has a reputation that precedes him with officials. He’s been fined twice and suspended once for unnecessarily rough hits since last season.
“These officials watch tape, too,” Zimmer said.
‘Always been about us’
Safety George Iloka said “it definitely felt good” to play defense again, even if the veteran got just seven snaps against the Eagles. Iloka had one tackle and a chip on the proverbial shoulder after the defense rebounded from giving up 38 points to the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 27.
“After we played the Rams, no one was saying anything about us and we got a decent win [Sunday] and everyone is trying to pat us on the back again,” Iloka said. “It’s always been about us. I just believe that. [Sunday], you got an example of how we can play when we lock in. That was the biggest difference.”