EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Vikings entered Sunday’s 37-17 victory against the Jets already down five starters. They lost three more during the game as guard Tom Compton, linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes were injured and did not return.
Compton injured his right knee in the first quarter. Barr (hamstring) and Rhodes (ankle) left in the fourth quarter and did not return. Rhodes was unable to put weight on his left ankle as he was helped off the field, but he stayed on the sideline and watched the rest of the game.
“I think he’s got a sprained ankle,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal. We’ll see.”
Cornerback Holton Hill filled in for Rhodes and intercepted Jets quarterback Sam Darnold on his first snap. Second-year guard Danny Isidora filled in for Compton. Linebacker Eric Wilson played for Barr.
“It’s important we as coaches continue to push these young guys,” Zimmer said. “Because they’re going to get into the ballgame at some time.”
The Jets, entering Sunday already down three defensive backs, lost safety Doug Middleton to a shoulder injury. Middleton was starting for injured safety Marcus Maye. Running back Bilal Powell was ruled out in the second quarter after injuring his neck when he was hit by Barr.
Third-down streak ends
The Vikings defense had stopped opponents on 20 straight third downs, dating back two weeks to the end of the 23-21 win at Philadelphia. The streak ended when Darnold scrambled for 6 yards to convert a third-and-5 play in the third quarter. The Jets converted two of 13 attempts Sunday. Darnold added another 10-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.
“I wasn’t too happy about that on the sideline,” Zimmer said. “Because I talked to them all week about this guy, he’s going to bail on you. You have to make sure you’re in the right place rushing him.”
O’Neill finding footing
Asked about young Vikings contributing, Zimmer pointed to rookie tackle Brian O’Neill after the second-round pick made his second start on the right side. O’Neill threw a block on the play side of running back Latavius Murray’s 11-yard touchdown run, but also drew one of the line’s three holding penalties.
“Good to keep that ground game going,” O’Neill said. “I want to keep improving on some details, definitely don’t want to have any more holding penalties.”
Joseph’s streak ends
Nose tackle Linval Joseph had the Vikings defense’s second longest active start streak until Sunday, when he was held out due to ankle, knee and shoulder injuries. Joseph had started 41 straight games dating to the 2015 season. He’s missed just five games since signing with the Vikings in 2014. Barr has the defense’s longest run in the lineup at 44 straight starts.
Running back Dalvin Cook, safety Andrew Sendejo and left tackle Riley Reiff also did not play because of injuries. Defensive end Everson Griffen was held out of his fifth game while undergoing treatment for his mental health.