The Minnesota Vikings weren’t happy with Lamarcus Joyner's fourth-quarter hit on a sliding Teddy Bridgewater that left the quarterback with concussion-like symptoms. Joyner said he wasn’t trying to hurt him.
Bridgewater and Joyner, both in their second NFL seasons, grew up near each other in Miami.
“I know that guy,” Joyner told reporters after the game. “I grew up across the railroad tracks from him. My mom knows his mom. My dad knows his mom. I would never intentionally do a dirty play like that on Teddy Bridgewater. It was a bang-bang play. He’s a taller stature guy compared to me. I did not know he was gonna slide. When I launched, he slid and we connected.”
Bridgewater had scrambled for a six-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion to give the Vikings an 18-15 lead late in the third quarter and was scrambling again for a first down early in the fourth.
The quarterback was running toward the left sideline when he slid at the end of a five-yard run. As he slid, Joyner came in and hit Bridgewater in the helmet with his left elbow.
It appeared that the quarterback was knocked unconscious. He was later helped to the sideline, replaced by former Rams quarterback Shaun Hill, and then eventually went to the locker room before the end of the Vikings’ 21-18 overtime victory.
Joyner was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“If I can take it back, personally, I will take it back,” Joyner said. “Because I’m not a dirty player. And I wouldn’t want to take joy from his mom or from his team. Was it intentional? Not at all. I can’t fix the problem with what’s going on, how they feel, but how I feel inside, it’s not good.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said after the game he thought it was a cheap shot, but refused to elaborate.
The coach was asked what the hit on Bridgewater did to the emotions of his players on the sideline.
“I would say if we were out on the street, we probably would have had a fight,” Zimmer said.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters he didn’t think Joyner was trying to hurt Bridgewater.
“There was some feeling that Lamarcus did something on purpose and I think Lamarcus went into his dive the same time Teddy went into his slide,” Fisher said. “It’s just one of those things that happens. He’s not that type of player. He’s a class kid. So I know he was concerned for Teddy and I hope Teddy is going to be alright.”
“We’re not out to hurt anybody,” Fisher added. “It’s unfortunate. Teddy’s playing really well. Shaun (Hill) came in and found a way to win a game for them. It’s part of the game. I’m disappointed that he went out and I hope he returns to play as soon as he can.”