Filling in for an injured Andrew Sendejo, backup safety Anthony Harris had himself a very nice day for the Minnesota Vikings in their Week 11 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
“Next man up” seems to be the motto of the Minnesota Vikings in 2017. First it began with Case Keenum filling in at quarterback when Sam Bradford went down in Week 2 and then Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray each stepping up their play when rookie running back Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4.
The motto was in full-effect once again on Sunday during the Vikings’ matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. Backup Minnesota safety Anthony Harris got the start this week and he came up big for the team in their 24-7 win over the Rams.
Harris got his third start of the year for the Vikings on Sunday after safety Andrew Sendejo was unable to play due to a groin injury. Not only did Harris lead Minnesota’s defense in total tackles against Los Angeles with seven, his play in the second quarter might have changed the outcome of the game.
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As the second quarter was coming to an end on Sunday, the Rams’ offense was driving down the field and faced a 3rd and 4 from the Vikings’ 11-yard line. Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff threw a pass over the middle to receiver Cooper Kupp and it looked like the Rams were about to score their second touchdown of the afternoon.
But before Kupp could cross the goal line, he was met by a trio of Minnesota defenders including Harris. The Vikings safety swatted the ball out of the receiver’s hands and recovered it on the 1-yard line.
So instead of Minnesota going into the half down by six or seven, the score remained tied after the first two quarters thanks to the play by Harris and the rest of the Vikings’ defense. It may have not lead to Minnesota putting points up on the board, but the safety’s forced fumble was arguably the most important play made on the field Sunday.
Harris’ performance against the Rams is just the latest example of a Vikings’ backup filling in and coming up big when the team needs it the most this season.