Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
Brad Childress picked up the phone last spring to find Jared Allen on the other line. Childress figured he was calling to make small talk, and it started that way. “He said, ‘How’s your family?’ and so we talked about that,” Childress said. “Then he says, ‘That’s not why I’m calling you. Have you heard about the new spring league?’ I said, ‘I think I’ve heard something about it.’ ”
DETROIT -- After the Vikings finished off the Detroit Lions 27-9 Sunday, Dec. 23, players gathered around televisions at Ford Field. Many watched the end of Philadelphia’s game against Houston in the locker room. Some watched at a cafeteria area in the bowels of the stadium.
DETROIT — Kyle Rudolph picked a good time to put his basketball skills to use. The 6-foot-6 tight end, a former high school hoops star, boxed out and used his reach to grab a 44-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half Sunday, Dec. 23, spurring the Vikings to a 27-9 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
EAGAN, Minn. — Eric Kendricks’ streak of playing in 38 straight games will come to an end. The Vikings linebacker was ruled out Friday, Dec. 21, for Sunday’s game at Detroit because of a right hamstring injury. Kendricks, who was hurt in last Sunday’s 41-17 win over Miami and didn’t practice all week, last missed a game Nov. 6, 2016 against the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Stefanski moved from the booth down to the field on Sunday, Dec. 16, and optimism on the Vikings is going up. After the Vikings managed less than 300 yards total offense in four of five games and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was fired, his replacement had a banner debut. In a 41-17 victory over Miami at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings rolled up 418 yards and scored their most points since a 49-17 win over the New York Giants on Dec. 27, 2015.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Stefanski got the Vikings’ offense humming in the first quarter. Then the defense took over. The Vikings (7-6-1) rolled to a convincing 41-17 victory Sunday, Dec. 16, over the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota was eliminated from the NFC North race when Chicago (10-4) defeated Green Bay 24-17 but remains in the No. 6 (final wild-card) spot in the NFC playoff race.
EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has held his tongue about Bobby Wagner’s blocked field goal on Monday, Dec. 10. His special teams coordinator hasn’t. Mike Priefer said Thursday, Dec. 13, that officials missed the call when the Seattle linebacker put his hands on two teammates and jumped over the line of scrimmage to block a 47-yard attempt by Dan Bailey in the fourth quarter of a 21-7 loss.
EAGAN, Minn. -- The message in Kevin Stefanski’s first speech as the Vikings’ interim offensive coordinator was simple. The theme, running back Dalvin Cook said Thursday, Dec. 13: “Just go out and compete and have fun and fly around. That’s it.” Stefanski, 36, was promoted from quarterbacks coach Tuesday when Vikings coach Mike Zimmer fired John DeFilippo. He will make his debut Sunday, calling plays against the Miami Dolphins at U.S. Bank Stadium.
SEATTLE -- Vikings running back Dalvin Cook keeps a board by his locker upon which he places adhesive-backed descriptions next to each game listed on the team’s schedule. He has used phrases this season of “Popcorn Ready Game,’’ “Statement Game” and “Bulletin Board Game.’’ For Monday, Dec. 9’s game at Seattle, it reads simply: “MNF Game.’’
SEATTLE -- Holton Hill has gone from admiring Russell Wilson to trying to slow him down. When the Vikings rookie cornerback was growing up in Houston, the Seattle quarterback was one of his favorite players. “I was a fan of his growing up just because I liked the style in which played,’’ Hill said. “He was for sure in my top five.’’ On Monday night, Dec. 10, Hill will get his second career start at Seattle. He takes over for Trae Waynes, who was ruled out with a concussion suffered in 24-10 loss at New England on Dec. 2.