The Vikings, who produced a few good runs in Sunday’s 30-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals but still averaged only 3 yards per carry as a team, waived third-string running back Ronnie Hillman on Monday.
Hillman, who signed with the Vikings in September, played six offensive snaps against the Cardinals and rushed for 9 yards on two carries.
Third on the depth chart behind Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, Hillman rushed for 50 yards on 18 carries in five games in Minnesota with a long run of 16 yards. He added four catches for 43 yards.
His release was foreshadowed by the waiver claim the Vikings, who rank last in the NFL in yards per carry, submitted for running back Christine Michael when the Seattle Seahawks released him last week. The Green Bay Packers were ahead of the Vikings in line and awarded Michael.
To fill Hillman’s roster spot, the Vikings promoted defensive end Stephen Weatherly, a 2016 seventh-round draft pick, from the practice squad.
The Vikings now have only two running backs on their active roster, but C.J. Ham is still on the practice squad if the Vikings need another. Adrian Peterson is also eligible to be activated from injured reserve at any point, but his return from a torn meniscus does not appear to be imminent.
TV crewman in ‘hit of the year’
The biggest hit Sunday came before the game, when a pair of Vikings defensive linemen accidentally stampeded an unsuspecting Fox network sound technician as they ran out of the tunnel when the team was introduced.
Defensive end Brian Robison was the first to collide with the sound technician, a Hugo native named Bernie Beaudry. But it was nose tackle Linval Joseph who leveled Beaudry, who bounced off the 330-pounder’s chest before becoming parallel with the turf and slamming his head.
Video of the collision went viral, thanks to the help of Robison and other Vikings who posted clips of the hit to their social media accounts.
“He’s got to check both ways before he crosses the road, man,” Robison said Monday. “I heard he finished the game out, so hats off to him. That was probably the hit of the year. I don’t think that’s going to be topped.”
Robison, who chuckled when asked about the collision but also felt some remorse, said that he and Joseph plan to send Beaudry a care package.
“I’m going to try to get a picture of him getting leveled by me and Linval and autograph it and send it to him and maybe a few other [things] to hopefully ease the pain a little bit,” the veteran defensive end said.
Munnerlyn feeling the pain
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn gingerly walked into the locker room at Winter Park on Monday, his right ankle still sore after returning to the lineup Sunday and playing 63 of the 74 defensive snaps against the Cardinals.
“I’m all right,” he said. “It’s the day after a game so it’s kind of sore.”
Munnerlyn, who did not play in the loss to Washington two weeks ago, is only getting four days to recover before the Thanksgiving game against the Lions in Detroit. But Munnerlyn expects to suit up.
“My team needs me to play, so I’ll be ready to go,” he said.
Cornerback asserts his innocence
Munnerlyn disagreed with the postgame opinion of Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, who felt Munnerlyn held receiver John Brown on the second-quarter play that resulted in Xavier Rhodes’ team record pick-six.
“It looked like an obvious holding penalty,” Palmer said. “I am sure we will turn that into the league and I am sure they will … say it was holding.”
Munnerlyn argued that Brown was the one who initiated contact with him and insisted he “didn’t grab” and “didn’t yank” the wide receiver.
“I’m anxious to see what the league says,” he said. “I definitely want to know what [Palmer] says when the league comes back with a verdict.”
Even though the Vikings did not practice Monday, they were required to submit a simulated injury report because they play Thursday.
They listed safety Harrison Smith (ankle), cornerbacks Terence Newman (neck) and Marcus Sherels (rib and ankle) and defensive tackles Tom Johnson (illness) and Sharrif Floyd (knee) as non-participants.