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Vikings stay firmly in NFC race with bounce-back win – Minnesota Vikings Blog

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MINNEAPOLIS — The reeling, injured and discombobulated Detroit Lions are not a good football team.

The Minnesota Vikings treated their divisional opponent as such in a 20-7 win at home on Sunday.

With its defense under an intense microscope entering the final quarter of the season, Minnesota left little in doubt against an overmatched opponent to stay firmly in the NFC playoff picture and wild-card race.

The Vikings face their other two NFC North foes — Green Bay and Chicago — in Weeks 16 and 17 and continue to hold a firm grip on their postseason destiny as they head to Los Angeles for a meeting with the Chargers next Sunday.

QB breakdown: The Vikings offense didn’t exactly blow the doors off U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday (354 total yards, 5.1 yards per play), but it’s not like they had to dig deep into the playbook to keep the Lions off balance. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski deferred to the play-action game often, allowing Kirk Cousins to go 12-for-12 for 114 yards and a touchdown on such throws in the first half, the highest number of play-action completions in any half since ESPN started tracking that data in 2006. Cousins picked apart an injury-depleted Lions defense and had all day to throw, as has been the trend in each of his meetings against Detroit this season. In Week 14, Cousins averaged 3.58 seconds from snap to pass, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. His previous longest was 3.38 seconds in Week 7 at Detroit (he’s averaged 2.97 seconds this season). Cousins finished 24-of-30 for 242 yards and a touchdown after not needing to throw the ball more than two times in the fourth quarter.

Ground game goes: With Dalvin Cook dealing with a chest injury, the Vikings turned to their deep crop of running backs to carry the load against Detroit. Cook notched 20 touches on 32 snaps and gained 75 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Alexander Mattison had 14 carries for 46 yards and two catches for 18 yards while Mike Boone got in five carries for 13 yards late in the game.

Promising trend: After Xavier Rhodes’ struggles came to a head with a sideline outburst in Seattle, having earned a not-so-great recognition as having allowed the highest completion percentage (84) as the nearest defender among all defensive backs this season, coach Mike Zimmer opted to rotate his cornerbacks against Detroit, choosing to scheme towards matchups instead of having his top two corners — Rhodes and Trae Waynes — play their respective sides. Mike Hughes alternated with both veteran corners, notching an early third-down pass break-up and three tackles in 25 defensive snaps. Holton Hill also played a considerable amount once Rhodes exited the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

The Vikings defense treated a rookie backup quarterback the way you’d expect. It took the Lions 40 plays into the game to eclipse 100 yards of offense, and David Blough was harassed repeatedly (sacked five times) in his second NFL start, going 24-of-40 for 205 yards, a garbage-time touchdown and two interceptions.

Danielle’s dynasty: Fifth-year defensive end Danielle Hunter etched his name in NFL history as the youngest player to reach 50.0 career sacks (25 years old and 40 days). Having flown under the radar for most of his career, Hunter has emerged as one of the league’s best pass-rushers, leading the NFL in total pressures and moving his season total to 12.5 sacks after dropping Blough three times in the first half Sunday. All three of Hunter’s sacks came on third down. Hunter now has 11 career sacks against the Lions, more than any other opponent in his career.

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With no evidence of him spitting on Ravens G Marshal Yanda, NFL clears Titans DL Jeffery Simmons

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Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was not fined by the NFL because there was no visual evidence of him spitting on Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda.

After the Titans’ 28-12 divisional playoff win in Baltimore, Yanda accused Simmons of spitting in his face.

“I’ve never been spitten in my face,” Yanda said Jan. 11. “I literally got spit right in my face by No. 98. He needs to be put on notice by the refs, by the entire NFL. He was saying some stuff today that’s just ridiculous conduct for the NFL. I just want to put him on notice. That was ridiculous conduct.”

On Wednesday, Simmons didn’t deny he spit on Yanda.

“I know what I did and what I didn’t do,” Simmons told PaulKuharsky.com. “Today is Wednesday. My focus is on the Chiefs now. What I did do in this past game and what I didn’t do this last game isn’t going to help us win this week.”

Asked if he spit on Yanda, Simmons said, “Like I said, I’m moving on from that game. I know what I did and what I didn’t do.”

If the allegation had been proven correct, Simmons would’ve been fined $14,037 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Ravens play host to the Titans next season.

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Odell Beckham Jr.’s cop slap case won’t be pursued by DA office

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Odell Beckham Jr.’s legal issues in his native Louisiana appear to be over.

The Cleveland Browns wide receiver was potentially facing a misdemeanor charge of simple battery for slapping the buttocks of a Superdome police officer in the LSU locker room after the Tigers’ national championship victory over Clemson on Monday in New Orleans.

However, the officer in question signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue charges, Beckham’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, said in a statement Saturday.

Later Saturday, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish District Attorney said, “Absent a complaining witness, this is not a case our office intends to pursue.” The New Orleans Police Department has not yet commented.

Video surfaced this week showing Beckham slapping the officer during the locker room celebration. According to records obtained by NOLA.com, the officer had been telling LSU players to put out cigars in the locker room.

No case had been instituted against Beckham because no arrest was made. And since it was not a felony charge, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office was not involved in the decision.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement issued Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

Beckham also was seen on video passing out money to several LSU players immediately after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory.

The 27-year-old, is from New Orleans and played for LSU.

The university’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday, saying it was aware of video showing “apparent cash” being given to players by Beckham and that it has been in contact with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference regarding the matter.

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Warrant out for Odell Beckham Jr. over cop butt slap recalled, lawyer says

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The warrant out against Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been recalled, his lawyer said Saturday.

The news comes after an officer signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue charges, Beckham’s lawyer, Daniel Davillier, said in a statement.

As result, Davillier said, “This legal matter has been resolved.”

Beckham was potentially facing a misdemeanor charge of simple battery for slapping the buttocks of a Superdome police officer in the LSU locker room after the Tigers’ national championship victory over Clemson on Monday in New Orleans.

Beckham, 27, is from New Orleans and played for LSU.

Video surfaced this week showing Beckham slapping the officer during the locker room celebration. According to records obtained by NOLA.com, the officer had been telling LSU players to put out cigars in the locker room.

According to the law enforcement source, the Superdome officer said in his affidavit that he was a commissioned law officer who chose on his own not to file an arrest. The source expects the NOPD to withdraw the warrant as a result — which would effectively end the case against Beckham. The NOPD has not yet commented on its plans.

No case has been instituted against Beckham because no arrest has been made. And since it is not a felony charge, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office is not involved in the decision at this stage.

“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Browns said in a statement issued Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”

Beckham was also captured on video passing out money to several LSU players immediately after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory.

The university’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday, saying it was aware of video showing “apparent cash” being given to players by Beckham and that it has been in contact with the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference regarding the matter.

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