Anthony Harris’ first career interception was a lesson in preparation.
Harris, the fourth-year Vikings safety, disguised his intentions in unison with safety Harrison Smith just before the snap. As the play clock ticked toward zero, Smith bolted backward from the line of scrimmage and Harris crept forward to where Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen wanted to throw to Larry Fitzgerald Jr. Having seen a similar Cardinals formation on film, Harris figured Rosen would look for Fitzgerald on that third-and-6 play Sunday.
“Part of it is just knowing the situation,” Harris said. “Usually offenses try to wait until the last second to get you to show your hand. So, we just try to use the play clock when we disguise.”
The play was just one of the Vikings’ 10 third-down stops against the Cardinals. It’s one Harris will remember. He held on to the intercepted football as a keepsake from his first “meaningful” pick.
“I was able to get some interceptions in the preseason, but guys talk about making it meaningful,” Harris said. “So, getting one in the regular season it was something I wanted to hold on to.”
Mike Remmers has started nine consecutive games at guard dating to last season, and he said transitioning from tackle has been a “learning process.” Remmers, in his sixth NFL season, is playing this season to justify a base salary that spikes next year to $5.65 million, none guaranteed.
Games like Sunday’s 27-17 win against the Cardinals, in which the Vikings ran for a season-high 195 yards, are a step in the right direction for Remmers and his fellow offensive linemen.
“I’m pretty hard on myself, and there were definitely a handful of plays I wish I did differently,” Remmers said. “There’s some things I wish I could change, but we’re happy we came away with a win.”
It’s about trust
The Vikings entered Sunday’s win against the Cardinals as the league’s most lopsided offense, throwing the ball three times to every run play. Putting some big runs on film during Latavius Murray’s career-best 155-yard game should go a long way toward getting defenses to respect the Vikings’ run game and coordinator John DeFilippo to call more runs moving forward.
“It was good for us to feel that and know we’re capable of that,” tight end David Morgan said. “And have people see it and have people trust us.”
‘The right way’
Safety George Iloka said he felt good Monday, a day after making his first start for the Vikings. He played 43 snaps on defense against the Cardinals and added 18 snaps on special teams.
His busy outing ended a five-game streak of playing only special teams, which was rare for the full-time ex-Bengals starter.
“It was different. I don’t want to say it was hard,” Iloka said. “I’ve experienced some things throughout my career and life that has kind of prepared me for this situation. I think I’ve tried to go about it the right way.”
Third-year receiver Laquon Treadwell has quietly made at least two catches in all six games this season, the longest such stretch of his career. He caught all four targets against the Cardinals for 38 yards. Two of Treadwell’s grabs moved the chains for a first down. That type of consistency is what the Vikings have sought with Treadwell since making him a first-round pick in 2016.
“Every play I touch the ball I feel more confident, as you would say,” Treadwell said. “The best don’t stress; that is kind of my saying. So, I don’t stress anymore.”