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NOTEBOOK: Harris Impresses in Secondary for Vikings



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Anthony Harris was in the right place at the right time Sunday when he jumped on a fumble forced by Danielle Hunter on the opening play of the second half. 

The play jumpstarted the Vikings defense, which allowed just three points and 116 total yards in the second half against Cleveland in a 33-16 win.

Harris' perfect positioning didn't surprise fellow safety Harrison Smith, who said Harris played well while filling in for the suspended Andrew Sendejo.

"He played awesome," Smith said of Harris. "Whenever he comes in and plays, he plays awesome, tackles well, executes his assignments."

Harris made his second start this season and seventh of his career. He helped limit the Browns to just 161 passing yards.

Smith noted that while Harris might not play regularly on defense, he's a necessary piece that provides depth and talented on the roster.

"When he's not [playing defense], he's playing great on special teams, so he's a big asset," Smith added.

Harris made the 53-man roster in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Virginia.

Plowing ahead

Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have pulled their weight since Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 4.

The Vikings have averaged 132 yards per game on the ground since Week 5. McKinnon has rushed for 261 yards in that span, while Murray has churned his way for 211 yards.

But the unit sees room for improvement, especially in eliminating negative plays in the run game.

The Vikings had nine rushing plays that went backwards in Sunday's win against Cleveland, including eight by McKinnon and Murray. Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had the other against a Browns defense that averaged more than seven negative run plays entering the game.

Even though the Vikings sit atop their division, Murray said Tuesday that the running game needs to be moving forward more often during the second half of the season.

"Obviously, we're in a good place, but I think we still have a lot to work on and improve on and be better at," Murray said. "We can improve as a team and come back and finish strong.

"We want to run the ball a little more efficiently and eliminate the negative plays," Murray added.

The Vikings rank 12th in the NFL with 120.0 rushing yards per game.

Some Halloween fun

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen got in the Halloween spirit Tuesday morning when he appeared on Good Morning Football.

The hosts of the show dressed up as various football characters while Thielen sported a pullover of his alma mater – Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Thielen was asked later in the day by the Twin Cities media what character Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer would go as.

Thielen responded that Zimmer is his own character, but added that he could portray a Hall of Fame coach who is also his mentor.

"I think the only person that Coach Zimmer would ever be is himself," Thielen said. "I don't think he's the dressing-up type of guy. He might go as Bill Parcells."

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