Once a week, Mark Craig will get on and off the field quickly, then focus a spotlight on a player and a coach.
ON THE FIELD WITH ...
Latavius Murray, Vikings running back
Question: You stiff-armed Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea beautifully in the open field to cap the Vikings’ first rushing touchdown of the season last week. What’s the key to a great stiff arm?
Answer: “What’s obviously important is the timing of it. If the guy hasn’t shot his hands to reach for a tackle yet, then there’s a really good chance you’ll get him just right. If his hands are already out there, it’s hard to get your hand into him fully. You look for when he’s going to make his move or duck his head. You do that and you can get him just right. The safety had gotten me on my first long run of the game. So I was looking to get the safety the next time around.”
OFF THE FIELD WITH ...
Murray, Vikings running back
Question: Your first child, a son, Major, was born Sept. 4. What kind of sleeping schedule is he on, and do you use the ultimate excuse on your fiancée, Shauntay Skanes, that, doggonit, an NFL player needs his rest?
Answer: “It’s a little overwhelming with a newborn crying. He goes to bed anywhere from 8 to 10 at night. He’ll wake up around 2 or 3 in the morning. Feed him, and he’s back in bed until 7 or so. What I do on days when it’s lighter here, I take the baby when he gets up. Like Sunday nights after games, I know Mondays are lighter. And Monday nights, I know we have Tuesdays off, so I’m able to take him then, too. It’s not fun, but there are those moments when you’re sitting there feeding him and I look at him and can’t believe it. It’s a blessing.”
SPOTLIGHT PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Adam Vinatieri, Colts kicker
With 10 more points, the 45-year-old Vinatieri will become the fourth player this millennium to hold the NFL’s career scoring record. He has 2,535 points and trails only Hall of Famer Morten Andersen, who had 2,544. Andersen was 46 when he surpassed Gary Anderson (2,434) in 2006. Anderson passed George Blanda (2,002) in 2000. Blanda, who played until he was an NFL-record 48 years old in 1975, now sits in seventh place.
SPOTLIGHT COACH OF THE WEEK
Todd Walsh, Jaguars defensive coordinator
Two weeks ago, the Jaguars had the top-ranked scoring defense (14.0). Today, they rank ninth (21.0) heading into a home game against Houston. Walsh and his side of the ball gave up 63 of Jacksonville’s 70 points allowed in back-to-back blowout road losses at Kansas City and Dallas. Jacksonville was especially weak against the run. The Chiefs and Cowboys combined to rush for 332 yards and four touchdowns on 72 carries (4.6). The Jaguars also lost the turnover battle 7-2.