Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo was suspended one game by the NFL for “a violation of safety-related playing rules” in Sunday’s 24-16 win against the Ravens.
Sendejo was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he hit Ravens receiver Mike Wallace in the head on a crossing route, as he was wrapped up by Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. The hit cost the Vikings 15 yards and ultimately one game for Sendejo. He’s eligible to return to the Vikings on Oct. 30, a day after the Vikings’ game against the Browns in London.
In its press release, the NFL said Sendejo’s hit on Wallace violated the unnecessary roughness rule by “using any part of a player’s helmet or facemask to butt, spear or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.”
“The violation was flagrant and warrants a suspension because it could have been avoided,” Jon Runyan, NFL vice president of football operations, wrote in a letter to Sendejo, “was violently directed at the head and neck area and unreasonably placed both you and and an opposing player at risk of serious injury.”
The suspension came just a couple of hours after coach Mike Zimmer staunchly defended Sendejo’s hit. Zimmer said he’ll send the play to the league to be reviewed again.
“I think the receiver took five steps after he caught the ball, and I think [Sendejo] hit him with a glancing blow,” Zimmer said.
“I know what [the officials] told me, but I’m going to turn it in and see what they say. … [Wallace] went down a little bit, but in my opinion he was a runner.”
Sendejo could appeal the suspension. If upheld, it would cost him $173,529, or one-seventeenth of his $2.95 million base salary this season. The 30-year-old Vikings safety was fined earlier this year, $24,309, for a hit to the helmet of Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate in Week 3.
The Vikings started Anthony Harris in Sendejo’s place when he missed a 23-10 victory over the Packers because of a groin injury.