Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson called the Jets just another game and took full responsibility for his “self-inflicted” downfall and trade from New York to Seattle last year.
“Under the Rex [Ryan] regime [2013-14], I was doing pretty good for the most part, making a name for myself in the league,” said Richardson, the 13th overall draft pick and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
“After that, it was kind of, you know, self-inflicted wounds and me not overcoming my personal battles in life. That got me out of there and changed everything around.”
Three years ago, Richardson was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Two weeks later, he was arrested in Florida after driving faster than 140 mph while street racing. Police reportedly found a loaded handgun and indicated the car smelled of marijuana.
No drug or gun charges were filed, and Richardson was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest. The league suspended him for one game.
“Every phase of my life, I grew from it,” Richardson said of his time with the Jets. “I battled through that and I landed in a good situation [with the Vikings]. Good team, good family-oriented guys, good coaching staff. Can’t really beat it.”
Richardson signed a one-year, $8 million deal with incentives that could add another $3 million. He has one sack and four tackles for loss while starting all six games heading into Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.
“I’ve been really impressed with Sheldon,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “And not just his play, but the way he’s come in here and tried to learn the techniques we’re trying to teach him. His professionalism, how he handles himself in the meetings. He’s been really good with everything.”
Barr playing more ‘carefree’
Linebacker Anthony Barr credits a simplifying of the defense for one of the better two-week stretches he’s had in a while.
“I think we just kind of homed in on what we do well,” he said. “Try to get back to that. Simplify things a little bit.
“In the offseason, there’s so much time to come up with great ideas. But I think sometimes it doesn’t go exactly how you drew it up. So, we’re kind of getting back to knowing who you are, your identity, doing what you do well. It’s helped us be successful.”
In the past two games, Barr has notched 11 of his 33 tackles, two of his three tackles for loss, all three of his quarterback hits and his only forced fumble and pass defense.
“I feel like I’ve played kind of more carefree,” he said. “Kind of going out, understanding what my job is, but also getting to the ball and trying to make plays. Just be myself.”
Coaches simplifying the defense made that easier to do, he said.
“You just react,” he said. “You go out and understand where you need to be without being consciously getting there. It’s just habit. You just find the ball and go make plays. That’s definitely allowed us, not only myself but the whole defense, to go out and play better.”
Joseph sits, Cook practices
Nose tackle Linval Joseph (ankle/knee/shoulder), safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) and left tackle Riley Reiff (foot) did not practice Wednesday, while defensive end Everson Griffen remains away from the team as he deals with mental health issues.
Meanwhile, running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) and defensive end Tashawn Bower (ankle) were among the players on the injury report who had full participation.
For the Jets, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold (right/throwing elbow) appeared on the injury report but had full participation.