Lunch Break


Lunchbreak: Linval Joseph Receives Praise from Hall of Famer John Randle

Posted Dec 6, 2017

John Randle is among the best defensive linemen to have donned Vikings Purple over the years.

The seven-time Pro Bowler spent 11 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Vikings, during which he tallied 489 total tackles, 114 sacks and 25 forced fumbles. So when the Hall of Fame defensive tackle highlights the play of a current interior lineman, you can bet he knows what he’s talking about.

Randle recently spoke with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand about various activities and promotions leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. During their conversation, Rand asked Randle about the 2017 Vikings and his impression of their season thus far.

Randle said that Everson Griffen “reminds me of myself” but went on to single out Linval Joseph and the productivity he has alongside Griffen.

“Guys like Linval Joseph, you don’t just find guys like that on every team,” Randle told Rand. “Those are the kinds of players who come to work and maybe don’t get the thrills and satisfaction Griffen gets, but you need a guy like that on your team. He’s a guy that does it day in, day out.

“For guys who played in the National Football League like me, I know that when you talk about the Minnesota Vikings, you have to talk about Linval Joseph,” Randle added. “He is not a man, he is men. That dude is a load.”

Latavius Murray playing key role in Vikings win streak

The Vikings have now won eight consecutive games, and Matthew Coller of said there “has been no shortage of heroes” on Minnesota’s roster during that time.

One player that he feels has been flying under the radar while having a significant impact, however, is running back Latavius Murray. Coller pointed out that Murray over the past six games has averaged 79 yards – 4.5 yards per carry – per game and has scored five touchdowns. Coller wrote:

The only running backs with more yards during that time are Mark Ingram, Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy. Only Ingram and teammate Alvin Kamara have more touchdowns since Week 7.

While the Vikings offensive line has played a huge role in the success of the Vikings running game, Murray has been tough to take down when defenders get a hand on him. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound back ranks third in the NFL in yards after contact over his last six contests.

He’s been effective as a home run hitter and a ground-and-pound finisher. Murray has picked up runs of at least 30 yards in three straight games. He’s also averaging 5.1 yards per carry when the Vikings have been ahead in games.

Coller said that Murray’s “effectiveness has been key” in a Vikings third-down offense that now ranks No. 1 in the league, and that’s also part of the reason that Minnesota has been able to avoid many third-and-long situations.

Since [Dalvin] Cook went down, Murray has been everything the Vikings were hoping for in a top back – he’s even shown some improvement in his patience, several times waiting for holes to open up in the Falcons’ front seven before taking off. His contribution shouldn’t be overlooked when we break down why the Vikings have won eight games in a row.

Carr: Thielen’s route running ‘near perfect’

Heading into Week 15, Adam Thielen continues to stay on the radar of David Carr, former NFL quarterback-turned analyst.

Carr released his weekly offensive player rankings for, and Thielen was at No. 11, improving one spot over last week’s position. Carr wrote:

The win over the Falcons was not Thielen's most productive game of the season (he posted four catches for 51 yards), but he had a huge play on third down to seal the game late in the fourth quarter. He created major separation on that play and picked up 22 yards. His route-running ability is near perfect, with no wasted movement.

Thielen remains the only NFC North player on Carr’s list. The highest-represented team is the Saints (9-3), who seem to have been on a hot streak since losing to the Vikings in Week 1. Carr highlighted running backs Alvin Kamara (No. 7) and Mark Ingram (No. 12) as well as veteran quarterback Drew Brees (No. 9).