A few items from the postgame locker room after the Vikings’ victory over Dallas:
– Considering the fact receiver Billy McMullen is one of the more mild-mannered players on the Vikings, it was a big surprise to see him take an unnecessary roughness penalty in the second quarter when he slapped a Dallas player after the play was dead.
“I lost my cool and that’s something I very rarely do,” said McMullen, who reacted that way after being subjected to trash talk. “It won’t happen anymore. Sometimes things rolls like that when you get so much emotion in the game. It was just a dumb penalty.”
Brad Childress pulled McMullen from the game after the penalty, had a brief conversation with him and sent him back in. It was clear Childress said what he felt needed to be said and let the incident go. “I’ve known him for a while,” said McMullen, who was with the Eagles when Childress was that team’s offensive coordinator. “He knows I’m not like that. I just told him, “Coach, I’ll try to get it back.’”
–CORRECTING THE CORRECTION FROM SEIFERT: One thing we can do is exonerate McMullen from a mistake on Jeremy Urban’s 95-yard punt return in the first quarter. We originally thought Artose Pinner (No. 22) was the player who collided with Heath Farwell and Cullen Loeffler, knocking down all three players and allowing Urban some daylight. Then we changed our report to McMullen (No. 12) when Childress fingered him in the postgame press conference.
Upon returning to the palatial estate last night, we watched the replay and are convinced it was Pinner. It’s not a clear shot but it sure looks like him, and not McMullen, who is about 7 inches taller.
– The next time the Vikings take the field it will be for real and right now it sure sounds like the right guard (Artis Hicks vs. Anthony Herrera) and right tackle (Ryan Cook vs. Marcus Johnson) battles remain ongoing. “I would just tell you this — both right guards and both right tackles as it stands right now would be guys that would be up and eligible to play when you go to a 45 [man roster],” Childress said. “So they are going to be there. But we haven’t determined who’s the starter at right guard or right tackle. Usually you go back and look at the tape and see if somebody was extraordinary.”
– Safety Greg Blue has been in a big-time battle for his roster spot but he got an opportunity tonight to make an impression. That came because starters Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith were in the game for only one series and Mike Doss and Tank Williams sat out because of injury. Blue finished with four tackles; he also saw duty on the special teams.
– Special teams had its problems again tonight. The lowlight was a 95-yard first-quarter punt return for a touchdown by Dallas’ Jerheme Urban. Childress admitted he will feel more comfortable come Sept. 9 when the Vikings have their top special teams players on the field. “That’s kind of the double-edged sword of when you’re trying to give guys opportunities to make it, guys that may not be the starter at that position, it’s tough,” Childress said. “It’s tough to watch the ball come back up the field.” Linebacker Vinny Ciurciu, signed as a free agent because of his ability on special teams, missed the past two games because of a broken finger. He should be ready for Atlanta.
– Why does linebacker and special teams ace Heath Farwell keep making this team? One word: desire. Thursday night in what for many was a nothing game, Farwell went out and led the Vikings with nine tackles and had a forced fumble. In the preseason opener, Farwell had a team-high 10 tackles with a quarterback hurry and a sack. He might not be the most talented guy on the field but nobody works harder.