The brawl in Cleveland was the talk Friday in the Vikings’ locker room.
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended for at least the remainder of the season for taking off the helmet of Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and hitting him over the head with it in Cleveland’s 21-7 win. Also, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for three games and Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi for one game and both teams were fined $250,000.
“We’ve all been talking about it,’’ said Vikings nose tackle Jaleel Johnson. “It was a big brawl.’’
Johnson said Minnesota coaches mentioned to players Friday the need to keep their cool.
“Yeah, it’s just the heat of the moment, an emotional game,’’ Johnson said. “But you can’t let that control you. If your emotions get the best of you, then that’s what happens. You’ve got to keep your cool and composure. … You can’t go out and hit a guy with a helmet. That’s not smart.’’
Head coach Mike Zimmer wasted few words in his assessment of the incident.
“It was terrible, it was awful, it was ridiculous,’’ he said. “That shouldn’t happen in our game.’’
Defensive end Stephen Weatherly agreed.
“It was crazy,’’ he said. “There’s no place for it. You should never use (a helmet as) a weapon. Tempers always get hot, especially in a game like this with all the testosterone, but never use a weapon.’’
After getting half a sack in his first NFL game, rookie nose tackle Armon Watts wouldn’t mind another against someone he knows quite well.
On Sunday, Watts could line up against Denver quarterback Brandon Allen, his former teammate at Arkansas.
“It would be good any time I get a sack,’’ Watts said.
After being inactive for each of the first nine games, Watts got in for seven snaps in a 28-24 win over Dallas last Sunday night when starting nose tackle Linval Joseph was out with a knee injury. Watts said he got about 30 text messages congratulating him for his half sack of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
“It was exciting,’’ Watts said. “I approached it in a humble way to be able to do it on prime time against a contending team.’’
Joseph again will be out Sunday, but Watts isn’t sure how much he could play. He at least can provide his teammates with a scouting report on Allen, his college teammate in 2015.
“He understands the game, he’s got great vision,’’ Watts said. “He will scramble. That’s one thing we’ve got to be prepared for.’’
Center Brett Jones is out for the season after suffering a torn left MCL in practice Wednesday and being put on injured reserve, but he still wants to help the team.
“He actually said he’s going to come out and help any way he can, be out here, script or break down football,’’ Zimmer said. “He just loves football and we love him.’’
Zimmer was he was “really sorry” to see Jones get hurt but is optimistic he will bounce back from the injury.