Much to the dismay of fans and a few of his players, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier called two timeouts as the Washington Redskins drove for a potential game-tying touchdown in the final two minutes Thursday night.
The Redskins had used their final timeout on the Vikings’ previous drive to save time. Frazier called a timeout with 1:20 remaining after Washington moved the ball to the Vikings 25-yard line. He called another timeout after Washington’s Roy Helu carried the ball to the 4-yard line with 38 seconds left.
“I wanted to make sure for one, our guys were getting a little fatigued,” Frazier said. “But also if they were to get a score, I wanted us to have a chance to go back and respond. I didn’t want then to be able to run the clock out and us not have a chance on offense. Fortunately for us, because our guys were gassed, they got their breath and made some big stops at the end.”
TV shots captured an animated Greg Jennings on the sideline after Frazier called the second timeout. Asked if he was worried about his players being upset with his decisions, Frazier said: “I’ve learned in my short time as head coach that you better do it the way you believe in doing it because you don’t have a chance to do this for very long. You don’t want to have any regrets. Our players, they’re thinking about what they need to think about. But I need to think about the total picture. So no big deal.”
Tight end John Carlson responded to an increased role with his best performance in a Vikings uniform. Carlson finished with seven catches for 98 yards and a 28-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Carlson took over as the No. 1 tight end in place of Kyle Rudolph, who suffered a fractured left foot against Dallas on Sunday. Carlson’s role in the offense had been minimal, at best, after signing as a free agent before the 2012 season.
“I’m excited,” Carlson said. “It was fun to be involved. That being said, we miss Kyle. Kyle is a beast. We want him out there on the field. It’s fun to be more involved in the offense and hopefully that can continue. But we want Kyle back.”
Rudolph is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.
Cris Carter honored
Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter returned to the Metrodome on Thursday to receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring.
Carter, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, told reporters that he had a different ring on his mind.
“I’ll tell the fans I really only thought I was going to come back to Minnesota for one ring — and I thought that was going to be a Super Bowl ring,” he said. “It’s my greatest disappointment athletically. I still want to come back one day and have a parade and see them get a championship ring. That’s really my wish.”
Carter was honored during a halftime ceremony. He said he wanted to thank fans who made him “feel at home” during his 12 seasons with the Vikings.
“People spent their hard-earned money to watch me play,” he said. “I want to tell them thank you for that. When a family decides to come to the Metrodome to watch me play, I plan on giving them their money’s worth so for me, that’s what I’m here for. To tell the fans, thank you. I came from a place where people were saying bad things about me. When I came here, I didn’t have to warm up to the fans. They never treated me bad. I never got booed. They gave me chance to redeem my life, so I had great experiences with the Minnesota fans.”
No rest for weary
Linebacker Chad Greenway gave an honest answer this week when asked how he prepares his body to play two games in five days.
“You don’t,” he said. “You just show up as available. Just be available and try and do as much as you can to get your body where you think it needs to be.”
The Vikings had a new starting offensive line for the first time in 24 games. Right tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion) and left guard Charlie Johnson (elbow) were inactive. Johnson was listed as doubtful on the final injury report.
J’Marcus Webb started in place of Loadholt; Joe Berger replaced Johnson.
The other Vikings inactives were no surprise: cornerback Chris Cook, safety Jamarca Sanford, running back Matt Asiata, tight end Kyle Rudolph and defensive tackle Fred Evans. Nose tackle Letroy Guion was listed as active but did not dress, meaning the Vikings did not have enough healthy players to fill out the 46-man active roster. Sharrif Floyd started in place of Evans. Rookie Xavier Rhodes made his second consecutive start in place of Cook. Mistral Raymond replaced Sanford in the starting lineup.
The Vikings waived linebacker Audie Cole before the game and promoted offensive tackle Kevin Murphy from the practice squad. The Vikings needed a backup tackle with Loadholt sidelined.