It was almost as if the Vikings asked themselves, “What would the Philadelphia Eagles do?”
After rookie receiver Jordan Addison drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone, the Vikings got the ball at 1-yard line against the San Francisco 49ers with a chance to take a big lead on Monday Night Football.
Everybody knows what the Eagles would have done in that situation. They would have opted for their signature play —- the Tush Push —- which has become inevitable in short-yardage situations. It has worked so well, in fact, that some people actually think it’s unfair.
You wouldn’t know it by watching the Vikings try it against the 49ers. On consecutive plays near the goal line, the Vikings tried the Tush Push with quarterback Kirk Cousins. After getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage, they lined up to do it again, and got called for a false start.
“It should be repeatable,” Cousins said. “You’d like to think that it could be done by any team at any time.”
That hasn’t been the case. Though the traditional quarterback sneak has proven to be effective leaguewide, the Tush Push has been hit or miss when other teams have tried to replicate it.
“Sometimes it works,” Cousin said. “Sometimes it doesn’t.”
Unless it’s the Eagles doing it. The fact that star quarterback Jalen Hurts has insane leg strength plays a major role. He can squat more than 600 pounds, and naturally, that helps him keep his momentum moving forward. It also helps that all-pro center Jason Kelce gets so low to the ground being snapping the ball to Hurts.
“You watch it around the league,” Cousins said. “I do think the Eagles have done it in a way that’s at a different level.”
That’s something the Vikings can attest to after trying it themselves.
“We always go back and look at, ‘How can we do better at it?’ ” Cousins said. “We were doing that after this week.”
Cleveland returns to practice
After sitting out Monday’s game with a foot injury, left guard Ezra Cleveland was a limited participant in practice Wednesday at TCO Performance Center. That’s progress considering he did not participate at all last week.
It’s unclear if Cleveland will slide back into his starting role on the offensive line when he’s back to full strength. The performance of fellow left guard Dalton Risner on Monday night might give the Vikings some pause.
Asked about the decision, head coach Kevin O’Connell kept his cards close to his vest, replying, “We’re still working through that.”
Roche signed to practice squad
After losing pass rusher Luiji Vilain to the Carolina Panthers this week, the Vikings signed pass rusher Quincy Roche to take his place on the practice squad. Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Roche eventually signed with the New York Giants and went on to appear in 17 games.