Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks had a little extra motivation before Minnesota’s opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, thanks to a text conversation with his mom.
The former Hoover High School star shared the conversation with his mom, Yvonne Thagon, on Instagram following the Vikings’ 25-16 win
Thagon – who said Wednesday that she’s exchanged “very short and simple” pregame texts with Kendricks since his freshman year at UCLA – told her son she wanted him to get a sack, to which Kendricks replied: “I want an interception.”
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Thagon answered with “Ok… Then go get it. Let’s make it a pick 6 while you’re at it then.”
Sure enough, Kendricks made good on his mom’s well wishes.
The second-year pro out of UCLA had a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter to put the Vikings ahead 12-10 after they were held scoreless in the first half. It was the first interception and first touchdown in Kendricks’ NFL career.
Thagon sent another text message after the play: “Oh hell yes. You did it.”
To which Kendricks later wrote on Instagram: “My mom gets what she wants.”
After the game, Kendricks described the play that helped him earn the NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor.
“Instincts kind of took over,” said Kendricks, who finished with six tackles, one tackle for a loss and a pass deflection. “I saw Everson (Griffen) with a great rush. I was staying on (wide receiver Harry Douglas’) hip and was going to undercut it regardless (because) I knew (quarterback Marcus Mariota) had to get rid of the ball. We’re a blue-collar team and a blue-collar defense. We just want to be stout. I was in position to make a play.”
The 77-yard intereception return touchdown is the sixth longest by a Vikings linebacker in team history.
Adams finds end zone – Davante Adams didn’t waste any time scoring a touchdown this time.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers found the former Fresno State star for a 29-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left in the first half, helping the Packers to a 27-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rodgers escaped pressure and got rid of the ball with a defender grabbing at his jersey as he threw to Adams. After the play, Adams got up and pointed to the back of his jersey several times.
“Those are the type of plays we got to make,” Adams told Packers.com. “We hold ourselves to a very high standard and make those tough grabs.”
Adams had a breakout rookie season in 2014 with 38 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns while playing all 16 games. Last year he played in 13 games and had 50 catches for 483 yards. He scored his lone touchdown in Week 13.
“Phenomenal throw and phenomenal catch,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s definitely something (Davante) will gain confidence from.”
Adams finished with three receptions for 50 yards.
Et cetera – Oakland quarterback Derek Carr (Fresno State) led the Raiders offense to four touchdown drives, throwing for 319 yards on 24-of-38 passing with one touchdown in a 35-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
▪ Running back Ryan Mathews (Fresno State) had 22 carries for 77 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, to help the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns 29-10. Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks (Hoover) played 19 defensive snaps (37 percent of total snaps on defense) and didn’t record a tackle.
▪ Robert Golden (Edison) started the season as the strong safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers and helped the team to a 38-16 victory over the Washington Redskins by finishing with six tackles.
▪ Strong safety T.J. McDonald (Edison) had eight tackles and four tackles for a loss in the Los Angeles’ Rams 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Cody Wichmann (Fresno State) started for the Rams at right guard.
▪ Broncos starting tight end Virgil Green (Tulare) finished with four receptions for 28 yards in Denver’s 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
▪ Bengals safety Derron Smith (Fresno State) had a tackle on special teams in a 23-22 win against the New York Jets.
▪ Chargers wide receiver Isaiah Burse and offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins, both former Fresno State standouts, were inactive against the Kansas City Chiefs, who came away with a 33-27 overtime victory with help from defensive back Steven Nelson (College of the Sequoias) and his career-high nine tackles and a tackle for a loss. He also had a special-teams tackle.
▪ Also playing Sunday and not recording a stat line was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Chris Carter (Fresno State).
▪ The Chicago Bears placed wide receiver Marquess Wilson (Tulare) on reserve/PUP because of a foot injury. He will miss the first six weeks.