NFL suspends Broncos’ Jackson four games for illegal hits

Broncos safety Kareem Jackson has been suspended without pay for four games for repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players, including during this Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Following the Broncos’ Week 7 game against Green Bay, the 35-year-old was suspended for four games for violations of unnecessary roughness rules. On appeal, that suspension was reduced to two games. In addition, Jackson was also disqualified from a Week 2 game against Washington for a similarly flagrant hit and fined.

The 14-year veteran, who can appeal his latest suspension, will be eligible to return to the Broncos’ active roster following the team’s Week 15 game against Detroit.

NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension for a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 10 (a) which states that “it is a foul if a player lowers his head and makes forcible c​​ontact with his helmet against an opponent.”​

In a letter to Jackson, Runyan wrote:

“With 13:38 remaining in the first quarter, you were involved in a play that the League considers a serious violation of the playing rules. The video of the play shows that you lowered your head and made forcible contact to Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs. You had an unobstructed path to your opponent, and the illegal contact could have been avoided.

“Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated. The League will continue to​ stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your ​opponent. On the play in question, you lowered your head and delivered a forceful blow to the shoulder and head/neck area of an opponent when you had time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.​”

Denver, who is on a four-game winning streak, will host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Dobbs: ‘NFC [Offensive] Player of the Week was a pretty cool accomplishment this week’

On Wednesday, Vikings QB Joshua Dobbs was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Dobbs, acquired via trade from the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 31, filled in for his first appearance as a Viking after QB Jaren Hall left the game at Atlanta with an injury in the first quarter.

He engineered a game-winning, 75-yard drive, connecting with WR Brandon Powell on a six-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left to secure a 31-28 win over the Falcons, the team’s fourth consecutive win, the longest active win streak in the NFC.

The seventh-year pro threw for 158 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions and ran for a career-high 66 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first player in NFL history to have three total touchdowns in back-to-back weeks with two different teams after scoring three in Week 8 with Arizona.

“NFC [Offensive] Player of the Week was a pretty cool accomplishment this week, but just want to give a shoutout – I know we talked about it after the game, but just going back and watching film and everything, it truly was a team effort,” Dobbs said on Wednesday. “There were a lot of plays that our defense made, especially early in the game, to keep the offense in the game. Some efforts on my turnovers of guys rushing down, knocking a guy out of bounds at the 1-yard line to keep it a 3-point possession instead of a 7-point possession. So, a tremendous effort by this team. Obviously, I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to come off a win. But we’ve got a huge opponent, an NFC opponent, coming to town this weekend, so we’re excited to get back to work and get locked in and focused and get ready for Sunday.”

What Dobbs did this week was amazing—a new team, a new system, and having to come off the bench to lead them to victory. 

Dobbs and the Vikings get back at it on Sunday when they host the New Orleans Saints.

Vikings acquire Dobbs from Arizona, trade Cleveland to Jacksonville

The Minnesota Vikings have traded a sixth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for QB Joshua Dobbs and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the team announced on Tuesday.

After losing Kirk Cousins(Achilles) for the season, the Vikings needed to make a move for a quarterback, and they got Dobbs.

Dobbs, 28, has started all eight games this season for the Cardinals, posting 1,569 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, five interceptions, and an 81.2 passer rating. Dobbs has also totaled 258 rushing yards, third-most among quarterbacks this season, and three rushing touchdowns.

The seven-year NFL veteran has spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2017-18, 2020-21), Jacksonville Jaguars (2019), Cleveland Browns (2022), Detroit Lions (2022), Tennessee Titans (2022) and Arizona Cardinals (2023) after originally entering the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick with Pittsburgh in 2017. After being acquired in a trade on Aug. 24, 2023,

Other moves:

Minnesota was busy before the deadline as they traded starting OG Ezra Cleveland to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

The four-year veteran is considered one of the better young guards in the league, and now Jacksonville gets the 25-year-old, which should help bolster their offensive line.

Cleveland was a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2020.

Vikings’ Cousins tears right Achilles tendon, out for season

The Minnesota Vikings got some bad news on Monday. Quarterback Kirk Cousins underwent an MRI this morning that confirmed a right Achilles tendon tear.

Cousins, 35, will miss the rest of the season.

According to the team, the timeline and details of his upcoming surgery will be determined this week. 

The 12-year veteran tore his Achilles in the fourth quarter of Minnesota’s 24-10 road win over the Packers on Sunday.

This comes at the wrong time for the Vikings(4-4), as they have reeled off three consecutive wins. At this point, Jaren Hall will be the starter, but with the trade deadline on Tuesday, expect Minnesota to possibly make a move. 

The injury also comes at the wrong time for Cousins, who can be a free agent in 2024. This season, in eight games, Cousins has thrown for 2331 yards, 18 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Vikings acquire RB Cam Akers

After two games, the 0-2 Minnesota Vikings have struggled in the running game. Minnesota has rushed for only 69 yards thus far this season. The Vikings needed an upgrade, and they got it.

On Wednesday, the Vikings announced that they traded a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2026 NFL Draft to the Rams in exchange for RB Cam Akers and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2026 NFL Draft.

The completion of this trade is pending Akers passing a physical.

The 24-year-old spent his entire four-year career with the Rams. Akers, who was unhappy with his role, requested a trade from Los Angeles last season, and he was inactive on Sunday in the team’s loss to the 49ers.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips, and quarterbacks coach Chris O’Hara were on the Rams offensive coaching staff during Akers’ tenure in Los Angeles.

Last season, Akers ran for 786 yards and seven touchdowns.

Akers should have an opportunity to have a prominent role with the Vikings. 

In his career, Akers has tallied 1,443 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 360 attempts, adding 250 receiving yards and a score on 27 receptions.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘I think we are a work in progress’

For the second week in a row, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts did not have his best game, but just like in Week 1, he and his teammates found a way.

Hurts completed 18 of 23 passes for 193 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. In addition, he ran for 35 yards and added two more touchdowns on the ground as the Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings 34-28 in the team’s home opener on Thursday night.

“For us, we found a way to get it done,” Hurts said after the win. “The reality is that the league is different from moment to moment. For us, we just continue to grow. Obviously, there were a ton of guys that made plays out there, not just myself. But there were a lot more plays out there for us to make.”

While Hurts has not been putting up eye-popping numbers, he’s getting the job done. In fact, Philadelphia has won 19 of its last 20 regular-season games Hurts. Since 2021, Hurts’ .750 winning percentage (24-8) leads all NFL quarterbacks.

After two weeks, teams are trying to limit the big plays this offense got last season in the passing game. The offense does not look entirely in sync; at this point, Hurts believes the team is finding its way.

“I think we are a work in progress,” he said. “What better way to be a work in progress than sitting on two wins out of the gate in ten days, or however many days it was. We strive for progress, not perfection. Obviously, we all have a standard for ourselves. Obviously, we demand the most of ourselves because of everything that we go through together, all the work that we put in together, and all of those things. We are going to continue to keep chipping away.

“In fact, the same things that I’m saying now I’d be saying if we lost. But the reality is winning is the only thing that matters, and everything is done with winning in mind. For us, we just want to continue to grow as a team, continue to develop, and find that identity for us and continue to grow together.”

In the second half, cameras caught an animated A.J. Brown talking with Hurts on Philly’s sideline. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was seen saying something to both guys. Brown did not speak after the game, but Hurts explained Brown’s reaction.

“I think everybody wants to make plays, and everybody wants to contribute,” he said. “I have no worry about him; he’s a great player, a great teammate, a great friend, and we’ll do anything and everything to win.” 

Sirianni says things will remain private.

“The conversations we have on the field are going to be private, and the conversations we have in our locker room are going to be private,” Sirianni said. “You don’t need to know what was going on right there.”

It’s all about getting wins, and that’s what the Eagles are doing right now, winning. As the schedule toughens up, this team will have to better if they want to continue winning.


-Philadelphia rushed for 259 yards and 3 TDs on 48 attempts, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. It was the 2nd-most rushing yards of the Nick Sirianni era (since 2021), behind a 363-yard performance on 11/27/22 vs. Green Bay. The Eagles’ leading rusher was newcomer D’Andre Swift, who totaled a career-high 175 yards in the win.

-D’Andre Swift’s 175-yard effort marked his fifth career game with 100+ rushing yards and was the most by an Eagle since LeSean McCoy on 12/8/13 (217 yards). Swift’s last 100+ yard game was on 9/11/22 vs. Philadelphia with Detroit (144 yards).


DeVonta Smith registered 131 yards and 1 TD on four receptions (32.8 avg.). It marked the 2nd-most receiving yards of his career (169 yards on 9/25/22 at Washington).
Smith became the first Eagle to record multiple 50+ yard receptions in a single game since

DeSean Jackson accomplished the feat on 9/8/19 vs. Washington. Smith caught a 54-yard reception in the first quarter to set up a FG by Jake Elliott that gave the

Eagles a 3-0 advantage early in the game. He also hauled in a 63-yard TD from Jalen Hurts during the third quarter to make it a 27-7 score.

Vikings release wide receiver Adam Thielen

On Friday, the Vikings released wide receiver Adam Thielen. The nine-year veteran and Minnesota native, who signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2013 out of Minnesota State, left his mark on the Vikings.

He is third in team history in receptions(534), receiving touchdowns(55), and fourth in receiving yards(6682).

The Vikings reportedly tried to get the 33-year-old Thielen, who had a reduced role with the team and finished 2022 with 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns, to take a pay cut to stay, but the two-time Pro Bowler declined.

Minnesota cleared some cap space with the move as, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, Thielen had a $19.97 million cap hit for 2023.

After his release became official, Vikings ownership, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and head coach Kevin O’Connell talked about impact of Thielen in Minnesota.

“Adam will forever be a part of the Minnesota Vikings family and history. Setting the standard with his play on the field, being a selfless teammate, and making a permanent impact in the community, Adam’s influence is significant. We are grateful for everything he brought to the Vikings organization since arriving in 2013, and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him over the last year. He is the best representation of what the Minnesota Vikings should stand for. I wish nothing but the best for Adam, Caitlin and their entire family.”

-Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

“Adam’s story is one many know and admire and an incredible example of what a relentless pursuit of a goal can ultimately accomplish. For over a decade, Adam honed his craft to become one of the most well-recognized wide receivers in the NFL. Over that same time, he poured so much of his time into his home state, which made it even more special for him to earn our 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination.I personally leaned on Adam for his work ethic, leadership, and counsel multiple times to help get our team where we wanted it to be last season. I appreciate Adam’s contributions and will be pulling for continued success for him, Caitlin and their children.”

– Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell

“Adam’s tremendous impact goes well beyond the Vikings organization. His rise from a tryout player to one of the best players in the history of our franchise has encouraged so many young athletes and is a testament to hard work and perseverance. While Adam had a competitive fire on the field, he showed grace, compassion and humility within his community. The commitment he and his wife, Caitlin, have shown to Minnesota through the Thielen Foundation has and will continue to provide real change. Adam’s energetic, contagious personality will be missed inside the facility, but we are grateful for the foundation he built. He was a Minnesota Viking long before we signed him and he will be always considered a part of this team. We sincerely wish Adam, Caitlin and their entire family continued success.”

– Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf and Owner/President Mark Wilf

Vikings name Brian Flores defensive coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings have named Brian Flores defensive coordinator, the team announced Monday.

In 2022, the Vikings struggled on defense. The Vikings recently parted ways with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after one season with the team.

The 41-year-old Flores will join Kevin O’Connell’s staff after spending the 2022 season as the senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In one season with Pittsburgh, Flores led a defense that gave up just seven rushing touchdowns, which tied with New England for the fewest allowed in the NFL in 2022. Pittsburgh’s opponents also had the league’s sixth-lowest completion percentage (61.3%).

Before his time with Pittsburgh, Flores served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-21. Flores helped the Dolphins post back-to-back winning seasons (2020-21) for the first time since 2002-03. In 2021, Miami became the first team in NFL history to snap a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak. Flores led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in 2020, marking only the second time the franchise has won 10 games in a season over the past decade. Miami’s defense finished sixth in the NFL that season, allowing 21.1 points per game, and led the league with 29 takeaways. 

Flores got his start in the NFL with the New England Patriots, coaching in all three phases of the game – offense, defense, and special teams – and helped the franchise win four Super Bowls – XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII. He spent eight seasons (2011-18) coaching defense and seven (2012-18) as a position coach. The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship game in all seven seasons with Flores as a position coach and won three of the club’s four Super Bowl Appearances.

In 2018, Flores helped New England win Super Bowl LIII in his first season as the defensive play-caller. Under his direction, the defense went from 17th to seventh in the league in passer rating, holding opponents to a 85.4 rating. 

Eagles DC Gannon talks 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Linc

The last time the Philadelphia Eagles made it to the NFC title game was in the 2017 season, and in that game, the Eagles routed the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 at Lincoln Financial Field to go to the Super Bowl. 

Ultimately, Philadelphia would win the first Super Bowl in franchise history two weeks later against the Patriots. 

Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was there when the Eagles faced the Vikings in the NFC title game. At the time, he was Minnesota’s assistant defensive backs coach. On Wednesday, Gannon recalled the energy in the building that day.

“In warmups, a guy that I was coaching, he looked at me with a look in his eye like, whoa. [Minnesota Vikings S] Harrison Smith. I said, whoa, back,” Gannon said. “You could feel the energy, and it’s awesome. This is one of the best atmospheres that you’re going to get in the National Football League, and obviously, being the championship game, it’ll be heightened.

“Yeah, I thought the energy in the building was just phenomenal. Before kickoff, as the game got going, and it’s a tough place to play, and it’s a big advantage for us.”

Playing the Vikings in Minnesota is always challenging, and they have a great fan base. However, according to Gannon, Philly is more electric.

“You know, you kind of think that’s an external factor that you kind of block out, but in ’16 and ’17 in Minnesota when that new facility got built, that new stadium got built, that was a really good atmosphere, too,” he said. “That was the Minnesota miracle, that game, to come here(Philadelphia) to play, and I was like, wow, I don’t know if there will ever be a stadium more electric than that that I’ve been a part of after [former Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon] Diggs has a walk-off. When we were here in warmups, that’s what it was. When we were here in warmups, it was like, whoa, this is as electric — it’s more electric than that place was.

“I always joke about it with Mr. Lurie [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie] and [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman]; I’ve always wanted to be a part of a Philly team to play in playoff games at that stadium because that’s how it stood out in my mind.”

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy will experience this environment on Sunday. Will he be ready? We’ll find out soon enough.

Giants’ Barkley on Jones: ‘I know we have an elite quarterback’

For the first time since 2016, the New York Giants were in the playoffs, and for the first time since 2011, the New York Giants got a playoff win as they defeated the Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

With the win, the Giants advance to a divisional round game at Philadelphia next Saturday night.

New York lost to the Vikings on Christmas Eve in Minnesota when kicker Greg Joseph hit a 61-yard field goal at the buzzer, but this game was a different story because of the play of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

In his playoff debut, Jones was outstanding. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 78 yards(team record for a quarterback in the postseason) on 17 carries. He is the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era with 200-plus pass yards, two-plus touchdown passes and 70-plus rushing yards in a playoff game.

After the win, Saquon Barkley, who ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns, including a 28-yard scamper in the first quarter and the game-winning two-yard touchdown run in the fourth, was impressed by Jones.

“I would say I’m impressed,” Barkley said about Jones. “I’m not shocked. He’s been doing it all year. He’s really a special player. You know what a way to start it off. I’m happy for him and proud of him, and we’re going to need him and keep leaning on him.”

Giants head coach Brian Daboll was proud of Jones.

“Daniel, I’ve said it all year; he’s been good for us,” Daboll said. “Continues to be good for us. He played a good game. I think there was a lot of other people that played good games to help him play a good game, and he’ll be the first to admit it. But as a leader on our football team, I’m proud of him.”

Barkley believes the Giants have an elite quarterback.

“I know we have an elite quarterback,” Barkley said. “I think he’s shown that most of the time. But we’ve also got amazing players around, too, so we”ve got his back no matter what.”

The fourth-year quarterback is happy with the win but knows more work needs to be done.

“I think it’s a big win for us,” he said. “Obviously, a big playoff game. I thought we played well in all three phases and did enough to win the game. We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we have a lot of work to do moving forward.”

The Giants were swept by the Eagles this season, including a 48-22 beatdown at MetLife Stadium; Jones is excited to get another crack at Philadelphia.

“We’re excited,” he said. “They’re a good team. A divisional opponent. We’ll prepare this week like we do any week and be as prepared as we can going in.”

The Giants continue to play with house money. No one expected them to win a playoff game when the season started. However, many believed the Vikings were a beatable team in this spot, and New York took advantage of it.

Back to Jones, he was exceptional against Minnesota, but Philly will be a bigger test, and we will see if Jones and the Giants can pass it.


-This was the Giants’ first victory this season against a team in the NFC playoff field; they had been 0-6 vs. Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle and Minnesota.

-The Giants totaled 431 offense yards, a figure they exceeded just twice in the regular season – 445 against the Vikings here on Dec. 24 and 436 yards at Jacksonville on Oct. 23.

-The Giants’ 31 points are their second-highest total of the season and the second time they exceeded 30 points