Safety Anthony Harris validated Mike Zimmer’s aggressive decision in the third quarter of the Vikings’ 19-9 win against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.
Two plays after Zimmer OK’d a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak from his own 34, which failed, Harris came down with an interception off Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The play reversed fortunes with the Vikings’ 13-6 lead being threatened in the second half.
“We had our backs against the wall there,” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “[Harris] came in big time for us. That was huge. Coach put some confidence in us, and we repaid the favor by going out there and making a play.”
Harris, whose third interception leads the Vikings this season, was at the right place at the right time when Haskins overthrew receiver Terry McLaurin. Harris has five interceptions in 17 starts since earning the job last season next to safety Harrison Smith.
“Last week, the offense helped us out and put a lot of points on the board,” Harris said. “So any time we go out there, we tell those guys to let it loose — we got their back.”
Keenum out early
Redskins quarterback Case Keenum was knocked from the game just before halftime after completing 12 of 16 passes for 130 yards. He was sacked twice, including by nose tackle Linval Joseph on Washington’s penultimate play of the first half, which presumably landed him in the concussion protocol. Keenum did not play after halftime.
Haskins, the 15th overall pick out of Ohio State, made his second appearance of the season. He completed three of five passes for 33 yards and an interception.
Former Vikings tight end Steve Jordan became the 25th member of the team’s Ring of Honor. Jordan was introduced by Tim Irwin, former NFL tackle and Jordan’s longtime Vikings teammate. He was also joined by his children, including Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, who watched the ceremony from the field in his father’s jersey.
Jordan was a six-time Pro Bowl pick in 13 NFL seasons for the Vikings after he was a seventh-round pick out of Brown in 1982. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (498) and receiving yards (6,307) by a tight end.
Zimmer said he would’ve challenged the 19-yard pass interference penalty on cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the second quarter, “if I thought there was a chance they’d overturn it.” But Zimmer, who is 0-for-2 challenging interference calls and non-calls this season, pocketed the red flag instead.
Rhodes was beaten by Keenum on four completions in the first half, including a pair to McLaurin that led to Washington’s opening field goal, and was later flagged for interfering with McLaurin. Rhodes, who exited briefly to be evaluated for a concussion, has more penalties (seven) than pass deflections (three) this season.
Not much work
Britton Colquitt’s 162nd NFL game on Thursday night was one of the only games in which the Vikings’ veteran punter didn’t punt — not even once. Colquitt held for Dan Bailey’s four field goals and extra point, and was otherwise a spectator of a Vikings offense that converted eight of 15 third downs and went for it on three fourth downs. Colquitt, a former Broncos punter, had to think back to his days when Peyton Manning was quarterback to find a similar result.
“Definitely one other time, maybe twice when Peyton was breaking all those records that year [with the Broncos],” Colquitt said.