Once a week, Mark Craig will get on and off the field quickly, then focus a spotlight on a player and a coach.


Adam Thielen, Vikings receiver

Question: The Vikings faced third-and-10 while trailing the Rams 28-20 in the third quarter last week. They were lined up when the independent concussion evaluator stopped the game and had Thielen pulled from the field. Thielen didn’t have a concussion and returned, but not until after the Vikings failed to convert. At that point, Thielen had converted three third downs. So, Adam, were you supposed to get the ball on the play from which you were pulled?

Answer: “In the NFL, you can’t just say, ‘This ball is going to you.’ But I liked the play call. I think any time you’re not in on third down, it’s frustrating. I don’t know what my chances were of getting the ball on that play. But the thing I was most frustrated about was, first of all, how long it took them, and it was a third down and a crucial part of the game. It seemed a little unfair to me that they would pull me out in that situation. But that’s the league rules, and it’s for our own safety.”


Adam Zimmer, Vikings linebackers coach

Question: Zimmer and Drew Brees both joined the Saints in the spring of 2006, about six months after Hurricane Katrina hit. Zimmer was a 22-year-old coaching assistant hired to break down film and help with the linebackers. What was it like living in New Orleans in the months after Katrina?

Answer: “I was still in college [at Trinity in San Antonio] when I got hired. I’d come in for the OTAs and minicamp, and I would stay in the hotel. I’d call to order a pizza and the phone would just ring and ring and ring with no answer because so many businesses were still closed from Hurricane Katrina. And that was eight, nine, 10 months after the hurricane. The city was really struggling. What the Saints did as a franchise brought the city together, and Drew was the leader of all that.”


Odell Beckham Jr., N.Y. Giants receiver

The 1-3 Giants are about to go off the rail, if they haven’t done so already. Coming off a blowout loss to the Saints at home, Beckham appeared to question his teammates’ hearts and not his own. The comments didn’t sit well with coach Pat Shurmur, who publicly refuted the claim that his team is heartless. Next up: a trip to Carolina to face a Panthers team that’s coming off a bye and more than equipped to handle the Giants’ 29th-ranked scoring attack.


Mike Zimmer, Vikings coach

In this week’s episode of “As Twitter Turns,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is, apparently, a bumbling buffoon who can’t game-plan, can’t make adjustments and just can’t coach a lick. About six or seven blinks ago, he was, apparently, a once-in-a-generation defensive wizard, mastermind of the game-changing Double-A gap movement and a blitzing genius. Now, Zimmer returns to Philadelphia, where many a fan’s perception of him shifted in last year’s 38-7 NFC Championship Game loss. Winless since Week 1 and sporting a defense that looked hopelessly lost against the Rams, Zimmer needs a game that reminds people that his defense led the league in fewest points and yards allowed last season.