NOTEBOOK: Vikings Defense Now Well-Aware of Trubisky’s Elusiveness

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings learned the hard way about Mitchell Trubisky’s athleticism in Week 11 at Soldier Field.

The Bears quarterback had 10 total rushes for 43 yards in Chicago’s 25-20 win. Most of his damage came in the first half when he had 37 yards on six attempts, and picked up three first downs on the ground.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was among those who were a bit taken aback by Trubisky’s ability to elude defenders.

“I probably didn’t know he was as fast as he was, running,” Zimmer said. “He had some really good runs on us. We had to adjust during the course of the ball game.”

Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was also a bit surprised.

“I thought he was fast … seeing him pull away from linebackers and shaking guys in the secondary,” Rchardson said. “We knew he wasn’t slow.”

Trubisky ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks with 405 rushing yards, and he also has three rushing touchdowns on the season.

But those 10 rushing attempts in Week 11 were a career-high for Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Vikings saw Trubisky in Week 5 of the 2017 season, when the quarterback has made his first NFL start.

Minnesota defensive tackle Linval Joseph was quick to point out Trubisky’s growth on the ground since then.

“In year one, when he first played against us, that was his first career start,” Joseph said. “Since his first game, and this will now be his third career game against us, he’s picking it up.

“He’s done a really good job of reading where he could run,” Joseph added. “We just have to stop him.”

The Vikings know that containing Trubisky could give Minnesota’s offense a few extra possessions Sunday at home.

If that happens, it could mean the difference between the Vikings getting into the playoffs or not this season.

“Just got to get to him, but you can’t change who you are,” Richardson said. “Little things here and there as far as game planning wise, but you still have to go out there and rush him.

“You’ve got to win your gap. If you win your gap, he’s got to go on to the next one,” Richardson added. “Hopefully he doesn’t make it.”

Added Joseph: “Their quarterback can really run. Really, you just have to do your job and not give him that big play. He’s a very good quarterback and he can run … we can’t let that be the game this time around.”

Murray wins Korey Stringer ‘Good Guy’ Award

Latavius Murray was named as the winner of the 2018 Korey Stringer Good Guy Award, the Twin Cities chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America announced Wednesday.

The award was established in 2001 in memory of Stringer, a former first-round pick who tragically passed away Aug. 1, 2001. It recognizes a current player who is always cooperative and has an outstanding attitude with the local media.

Murray reflected on his award Wednesday morning at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

“It’s a big honor to accept this award,” Murray said. “I didn’t know Korey Stringer [personally] but have heard great things about him. So I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’

“And then, thank you to all of you guys,” Murray added. “I know you guys have a job to do, but it’s important that players are consistent in helping you do that. So thank you to everybody.”

Murray, who has 560 rushing yards and a team-high six rushing touchdowns in 2018, credited his family and upbringing for the professionalism he exudes on a daily basis.

“I think, to be honest, if I have to take it back, I was raised a certain way. I was raised to be respectful. I was raised not to be selfish,” Murray said. “My dad, he was the kind of dad who would take trips to different family members’ houses and make you speak to the older relatives that, as a kid, you’re not really used to doing.

“I think I was just brought up a certain way to communicate and not be the kid who doesn’t like to speak, say hello, talk, say ‘Hi’ and greet people,” Murray added. “I think it’s just stuck with me over the years – again, being respectful, being available and communicating with you guys. And just showing who I am – it’s the kind of person I am, and I think it’s important that you see that.”

The past five winners of the award are Adam Thielen (2017), Captain Munnerlyn (2015 and 2016), Brian Robison (2014) and Kevin Williams (2013).

Other previous winners of the award include Chad Greenway, Ben Leber, Antoine Winfield, Daunte Culpepper and Matt Birk.

Diggs, Hughes pull off Christmas surprises

A pair of Vikings delivered magical holiday surprises to family members in recent days.

First, wide receiver Stefon Diggs purchased a new car for his mom, Stephanie. Diggs posted her excited reaction on Twitter on Christmas Day.

A rookie also made an impact, as cornerback Mike Hughes gifted a car for his sister.

Injury reports

For the Vikings: C.J. Ham (elbow), Linval Joseph (knee), Eric Kendricks (hamstring), Mike Remmers (back), Xavier Rhodes (groin) and Marcus Sherels (foot) did not participate. Anthony Barr (shoulder) and David Morgan (knee) were full participants.

For the Bears: Eddie Jackson (ankle), Aaron Lynch (elbow), Allen Robinson II (ribs) did not participate. Bilal Nichols (knee) was limited.

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