Mitchell, a rookie free agent, registered two sacks on "Monday Night Football" against the Patriots, using the same move – something he called an "overpower move" and "the long arm" – both times.
"The long arm, that's what I got my sacks with – the long-arm rush to hold him up or get the long arm in the chest," Mitchell said. "(I) create speed, put the long arm in the chest and try to knock him off-balance. It got me home twice."
Mitchell was promoted to the 53-man roster when 2005 first-round pick Erasmus James was placed on injured reserve and got into a game in his first week on the active roster against Chicago on Sept. 24. But there is no doubt that his performance against New England was his best to date.
His two sacks were his first ones and those two tackles made it his career-best in that category as well. He also forced a fumble.
"I hate the fact that we lost, but it was a good feeling to get to Tom Brady twice on Monday Night Football," Mitchell said. "He's a great quarterback, and it felt good to get my first two against a quarterback like that."
Besides one other tackle this season, Mitchell hadn't registered a defensive statistic, so becoming the first undrafted rookie to garner two sacks in a game was a big deal as well, but there is still work to be done.
"I believe I'm a pretty good player, but I believe I've got things to work on. Everything could be better – my pass rush, playing the run. Everything could be better," he said.
"I was doubted by a lot of people coming out of college and all my hard work is starting to pay off."
The old No. 50 returned to the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday. Linebacker Rod Davis, who was released on Sept. 2, was re-signed by the Vikings. Davis was originally a fifth-round selection (155th overall) by the Vikings in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played in 30 games with Minnesota from 2004-05 and one game with the Carolina Panthers this season.
The Vikings released linebacker Marquis Cooper in order to elevate wide receiver Jason Carter to the active roster for Monday night's game, but the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed Cooper off waivers before the Vikings had a chance to re-sign him, either to their active roster or practice squad.
Carter was waived Tuesday when the Vikings signed Davis, but the wide receiver rejoined the practice squad on Wednesday after he cleared waivers.
CHANGES NOT LIKELY
Head coach Brad Childress doesn't sound like a man ready to make many changes. He said their wasn't any thought in his mind to make a switch to Brooks Bollinger or Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, but Childress has been resolute all week about the need for Johnson to take better care of the ball. Johnson threw three interceptions Monday night and Bollinger had one interception and three sacks in his limited duty.
Johnson and Bollinger weren't getting the time that their counterpart, Tom Brady, was in the pocket, but Childress said he wasn't inclined to change up the offensive line.
"That's really not the kind of game we want to fall into, where we're dropping back and throwing it that many times, but you have to do what you have to do," Childress said of the problems in the Patriots game.
In fact, the lack of a running game could have been a factor in the pressure the Patriots were able to apply to the Vikings' passing game. Chester Taylor had only 10 carries for 22 yards, and that was never more prevalent than in the second quarter, when he had only one rush for a single yard.
"We came out and wanted to throw it. We moved the ball not bad throwing it," Childress said. "We just wanted to throw them a little curveball too so they couldn't screw their cleats into the ground. Just basically what they were going to give us and as the score gets driven up, it's hard to stand there and run the football."
There are several conflicting statistics for the Vikings-49ers game.
SMITH'S HOME IMPROVEMENT
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith is getting to be a much better quarterback in his second season in the NFL. At least that's true when he plays at Monster Park.
He has a 98.3 rating with seven touchdowns and just two interceptions in four home games this season. Last year, he had a 34.8 rating with one touchdown and eight interceptions in three home starts.