Vikings fans aren't the only ones who thought the penalty and subsequent fine for defensive end Kenechi Udeze were questionable decisions. Udeze himself thinks the fine he incurred after a hit to Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was unwarranted and is therefore going to appeal the NFL's $7,500 penalty that was announced last Friday.
"It still strikes me as kind of awkward, but I'm going to try to go through the appeal process and see what happens," Udeze said. "They said I striked him across the head and I didn't. I was avoiding him because he went down at the last second, but we're going to talk about that and we'll see what happens."
Replays appear to paint the following scene: Favre was rolling out to his right and looking downfield for a receiver and, just as he was crossing the line of scrimmage, noticed an oncoming Chad Greenway in front of him. Favre slid late and didn't appear to see Udeze coming in from the side, and Favre's helmet was knocked between Udeze's right elbow and hip as he dove over Favre and Greenway jumped up over both of them.
"Chad was cutting him off and he didn't even see me because I was coming from the backside. When he went down, it was like me trying to avoid him. I didn't lead with my head or anything," Udeze said. "Hopefully when they see that it will be conclusive evidence. Plus, it wasn't like he was going for the first down or anything like that. He should have slid. But Brett gets the extra calls, so it's something I'm going to have to fight."
ROBISON BACK ON SACK WAGON
Rookie defensive end Brian Robison started the season with three sacks in his first four games as pro, but in his subsequent five games he registered only a half of sack. On Sunday, he registered his first full sack since the Vikings played the Packers in Week 4, but he said he has been pressuring the quarterback throughout his temporary sack drought.
"I've been getting back there over and over. If you actually watch it, I'm getting there quite a bit. They're either getting rid of the ball a little too fast or maybe I'm getting there a half a second too late," he said. "So for me, it was just a matter of not getting frustrated and keep doing what I'm doing. Eventually they'd come."
His statistics bear out his assertion. In the last five games, he has been credited with nine quarterback hurries. His sack on Sunday against the Raiders was a big one, as he also stripped Daunte Culpepper of the ball as Oakland entered the red zone and Chad Greenway recovered the loose ball.
"I just came around the edge. The guy tried to cut block me. I got my arm down, he hit the ground and I just came around the edge and was able to knock the ball out and Greenway recovered," Robison said.
Robison leads the Vikings with 4 ½ sacks, with Ray Edwards and Udeze next with four each.
A NEW TREND
Greenway's fumble recovery was his fourth of the season. No other Viking has more than one. So how is Greenway getting all of these fumble recoveries?
"I don't know. I have never had a fumble recovery in my career up until this year at any level. Now I have got four this year. I guess it is just the luck of the draw. I guess the ball is squirting my way," he said. "I was thinking that they were going to give me a hard time for not scooping it up and running with it because I had all of that room, and then on the interception I should have kept my butt on the ground."
Greenway has admitted numerous times that he made a major gaffe late in the game. With less than two minutes to play and the Vikings holding a 29-22 lead, Greenway intercepted Culpepper with a diving catch and got up to try to advance the ball. However, he fumbled the ball while being tackled and the Raiders had one last drive to try and tie the game. They failed, and Greenway's mistake didn't cost his team the win.
"It was my first career interception and my first reaction was to get up and run the ball. Thank God it ended up the way it ended up when we got off the field after the game. Obviously next time in a two-minute situation I will just keep my butt on the ground. I almost got the next (pass intercepted) too to make up for it," he said.
Greenway later added: "The only guy not staying focused on the field was me getting up on that play at the end."
Against San Diego three weeks ago, Darren Sharper credited head coach Brad Childress with a halftime speech to inspire victory with a record-setting second half, but after a blowout loss to the Packers the following week, Childress didn't wait until halftime to deliver his motivation against the Raiders.
"I talked to the guys about how at some point football is going to end for everyone of us in our career, and I don't think anybody would have liked to have been marked by (the Packers game) performance, so it's important when you get these opportunities. Nothing is promised forward – coaching, playing, you never know. You want to feel good about yourself and you need to always, always, always, always do your best."
The performance against the Raiders wasn't exactly the Vikings' best with five turnovers, but it was at least a much-need win.
"It's rare that you can win a football game with five turnovers, and that's simply what I told them at halftime. Turnovers were responsible for at least 16 of their points there in the first half," Childress said.
Notebook: Udeze to Appeal Fine
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