Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn. — Aaron Rodgers has no doubts about playing against the Vikings this week. His coach isn't as optimistic. After the quarterback returned from a left knee injury Sunday night, Sept. 9, and brought Green Bay back from a 20-0 deficit in the second half to defeat Chicago 24-23 at Lambeau Field, Rodgers told NBC, "I'm playing next week." Packers coach Mike McCarthy tapped the breaks Monday.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray slipped into Stefon Diggs' postgame media session Sunday, Sept. 9, and pretended to be a reporter. "You were the third-leading receiver today behind Dalvin Cook. How do you think he caught the ball?" Murray asked. In Minnesota's 24-16 season-opening victory over the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium, Cook caught six passes out of the backfield for 55 yards. Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs had six and three receptions, respectively.
EAGAN, Minn.—The Minnesota Vikings had three undrafted free agents make this team this season, four if you count Brandon Zylstra. Mike Zimmer is fine if Zylstra is not included. "We can't count him because I have to pay the (position) coaches $1,000 every year that they get an undrafted free agent, so we are only counting three this year,'' said the Vikings coach. OK, so throw out Zylstra, a Spicer, Minn., native who went undrafted in 2016 out of Concordia-Moorhead before playing wide receiver in the Canadian Football League the past two years.
EAGAN, Minn. — Anthony Barr and Linval Joseph have combined to make five Pro Bowls. Now, both are captains for the first time. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer this week named his six captains for the season, which gets underway Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Three are on offense in quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight end Kyle Rudolph and tackle Riley Reiff, and three on defense in linebacker Barr, nose tackle Joseph and defensive end Everson Griffen.
EAGAN, Minn. — Stephen Weatherly glanced over Friday at where Brian Robison's stall used to be in the Vikings' locker room. "Seeing him gone and not there in his spot is kind of tough," the young defensive end said. Robison took Weatherly under his wing after the Vikings made him a seventh-round pick in the 2016 draft out of Vanderbilt. Robison also befriended defensive end Tashawn Bower when he signed last year as an undrafted free agent out of LSU.
EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Friday ruled center Pat Elflein out for Sunday's opener against San Francisco and cornerback Mackensie Alexander was listed as doubtful. Elflein, recovering from shoulder and ankle issues, was taken last Saturday off the physically unable to perform list and returned to practice this week for the first time since last season. Sources previously told the Pioneer Press that Elfelin wouldn't play against the 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium and Brett Jones would start at center.
EAGAN, Minn. — Laquon Treadwell doesn't expect to be an afterthought on offense. Not anymore. The Vikings wide receiver was on the field for 500 plays last season, 44.8 percent of the team's total, but was targeted just 35 times — a meager 7 percent of the time — and caught 20 passes. His primarily role often was to block.
EAGAN, Minn. — Quarterback Kirk Cousins will be working with a new center regardless of who snaps the ball in the Vikings' season opener Sunday, Sept. 9. Brian Baldinger, a former NFL offensive lineman who will be the national radio analyst for the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium, reported Tuesday that Danny Isidora will start at center. But Cousins indicated Wednesday that Brett Jones will be the starter, and a source said that is the plan.
ST. PAUL — When NFL Films was assembling footage last year for an episode of its show "A Football Life" on Vikings hall of fame defensive lineman John Randle, it naturally included moments from the 1998 NFC championship game. That part of the show wasn't much fun for Randle to work on with producers. Until then, he had made a point of not watching any footage from the most devastating loss of his NFL career.
ST. PAUL — After more than 20 seasons in the pressure-packed NFL, Gary Anderson wanted to get away from it all, and he certainly has. Since retiring in 2004, the former Vikings kicker has made his home in Canmore, Alta., a picturesque town of 12,000 in Canada's Rocky Mountains, 50 miles west of Calgary. "It may be the most beautiful place on the planet," he said. Anderson spends his days coaching the Canmore Collegiate High School soccer team, which has won four of the past five league championships, and serving as a fly fishing guide.