EAGAN, Minn. — A few weeks ago, Aldrick Robinson laughed when talking about his impressive catch-to-touchdown ratio early in his Vikings tenure.
At that point, the wide receiver had caught just three passes all season but had turned two of them into touchdowns.
Robinson’s ratio is even better after Sunday’s win over the Jets. He had just one catch but made it count on a 34-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
He now has four catches for 76 yards in five games, but he has touchdown receptions of 16, 17 and 34 yards.
“I like that ratio … gotta keep that going,” Robinson said with a laugh.
Robinson’s touchdown Sunday came at a crucial moment as the Vikings led by 10 points with just over five minutes remaining.
Minnesota faced a fourth-and-8 at the Jets 34-yard line and kept the offense on the field instead of trying a 50-plus yard field goal in swirling wings.
“Yeah, I thought we were going to kick a field goal,” Robinson said. “But we went for it, and they called a good play. And a good result happened.”
Robinson ran a go route and beat Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne to the end zone as Kirk Cousins’ pass headed toward him. The ball actually glanced off Claiborne’s arm and Robinson’s chest before the wide receiver secured it for a score.
“Kirk made a beautiful throw, and we had the coverage that we wanted,” Robinson said. “[Vikings Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo] made a great call and it all worked out. I just had to finish it out myself, and I did that.
“The wind kind of slowed it down a little bit, so I had to slow down and make the adjustment necessary,” Robinson added.
That helped Minnesota double up the Jets on the scoreboard and helped Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s bunch pick up a third consecutive victory.
“Obviously the fourth-down pass that Robinson caught was big to kind of put it away,” Zimmer said.
Mixing and matching
Most of the time, a defense employs four linemen to rush the quarterback in a passing situation while there might be two linebackers and five defensive backs on the field.
But Zimmer threw a wrinkle at the Jets on Sunday, sometimes having just three linemen on the field while adding an extra linebacker [usually it was Eric Wilson] to go along with the seven other defensive players.
Zimmer was asked Monday how that 3-3-5 formation can throw off an opposing offense, and he noted that the Vikings could gain an advantage by sending defenders on a blitz package the other team isn’t prepared for.
“There’s a number of different things,” Zimmer said. “Usually with a four-down front in protection, they’re identifying four guys and one more guy [who could rush] … and in the three-down front they have to identify three down and one other guy.
“That might be [Anthony] Barr, that might be [Eric] Kendricks, that might be Wilson,” Zimmer added. “There’s different ways to rush the quarterback, but you also have other guys in coverage, so you may have a guy covering a back, covering a tight end, doubling a guy. I guess it’s a little more varied.”
Kendricks played 66 of Minnesota’s 71 defensive snaps (93 percent) on Sunday, while Barr played 51 snaps before leaving with a hamstring injury. Wilson played a season-high 23 snaps on defense after having logged just 14 plays on that side of the ball in the first six games of the season.
Richardson’s return to New York
Sheldon Richardson had a successful homecoming against the Jets.
The Vikings defensive tackle, who was the 13th overall selection by New York in the 2013 NFL Draft, faced his old team Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Richardson led all Vikings defensive linemen with five total tackles (according to coaches’ tally) and was also credited with four quarterback hurries.
“Just happy to win, I went out there and had a ball playing against my old teammates and old friends,” Richardson said. “It’s always love, but we definitely wanted the ‘dub.’ ”
Richardson was part of a defense that helped create four turnovers, including three interceptions against Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.
Minnesota’s defense has allowed a season-low 17 points in each of the past two weeks.
“We’re trying to compile wins any way possible,” Richardson said.
The defensive tackle did take note of the plenty of Purple in the stands Sunday.
“We travel well,” Richardson said. “I noticed that.”