The Minnesota Vikings are off to a 4-0 start without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson.
It’s the Vikings’ defense and quarterback Sam Bradford keeping the charge going.
Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks finished with eight tackles and a pass deflection in a 24-10 victory over the New York Giants on Monday night that kept the Vikings as one of three undefeated teams in the NFL.
“It’s just 1-0 for us,” said Kendricks, the former Hoover High School star. “We take it one game at a time and we’re moving on to the next game as soon as this break (Tuesday) is over.”
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Minnesota earned its seventh regular-season victory in a row and held an eighth consecutive opponent to 17 or fewer points for its first 4-0 start since 2009 and ninth in franchise history.
Minnesota, which hosts Houston on Sunday, has moved on following Bridgewater’s season-ending knee injury in training camp and Peterson’s potential year-ending knee injury in Week 2 against Green Bay. The Vikings acquired Bradford in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in early September while running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata are filling Peterson’s spot.
Kendricks said the defense has a simple mindset.
“There’s always a point of emphasis,” he said. “We always have to play good defense, we always expected to and we want to stop the run. We just try to win every game we play. Win the close ones and grind it out.”
Carr leads late charge – Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (Fresno State) had his seventh career winning drive when he connected with Michael Crabtree for a 23-yard touchdown in a 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Carr completed 25 of 35 pass attempts for 199 yards and four touchdowns – the fourth time in his career with a four-TD game.
Et cetera – Ravens linebacker Chris Carter (Fresno State) had a special-teams tackle against Oakland.
▪ Cincinnati Bengals safety Derron Smith (Fresno State) didn’t record a tackle in a 22-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 29.
▪ Denver tight end Virgil Green (Tulare) was inactive for the Broncos’ 27-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
▪ Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson (College of the Sequoias) started in a 43-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and finished with two tackles. Steelers safety Robert Golden (Edison) was held out because of a hamstring injury.
▪ Rams safety T.J. McDonald (Edison) had a tackle in Los Angeles’ 17-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Rams right guard Cody Wichmann (Fresno State) made his fourth start this season.
▪ New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (Fresno State) returned after missing a game because of a shoulder injury and came up with a tackle in a 35-34 victory over San Diego on Sunday. Chargers guard/tackle Kenny Wiggins (Fresno State) got into the game as a reserve.
▪ Jets defensive lineman/linebacker Sheldon Richardson (College of the Sequoias) had two tackles, one for a loss, and a quarterback hit as the Jets fell to the Seattle Seahawks 27-17 on Sunday.
▪ Tennessee cornerback Curtis Riley (Fresno State) was a healthy scratch before the Titans’ 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.
▪ The Green Bay Packers (Davante Adams, Fresno State) and the Eagles (Ryan Mathews, Fresno State and Mychal Kendricks, Hoover) had a bye.