EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Right guard Josh Kline was back in the lineup Sunday for the Vikings, and they had another big rushing game.
Minnesota equaled a season high with 211 yards on the ground in a 28-10 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium after Kline sat out in Week 4 at Chicago because of a concussion.
In the four games Kline has played this season, the Vikings have averaged 198 yards rushing. In the Bears game, a 16-6 loss, they had 40 yards.
Chicago has a stout defense, and that made a huge difference. But Kline was Minnesota’s primary signing last spring in free agency, getting a three-year, $15.5 million deal.
“It felt good to get back there with the boys,” Kline said.
Kline suffered a concussion in the Sept. 22 game against Oakland. When he sat out against the Bears, it ended a consecutive-games streak of 49, which had been the longest among active NFL guards.
“That was really tough,” he said. “I could care less about the streak, but I just wished I could have been out there. The streak doesn’t matter to me; it’s just being out on the field.
“I can’t help (being injured). Some things happen. In that streak, there’s a lot of luck involved and not getting injured and stuff like that.”
The Vikings are 3-0 this season when they have their entire offensive line intact. They lost 21-16 at Green Bay in Week 2 when Dakota Dozier replaced an injured Pat Elflein at left guard. Dozier replaced Kline when he was out against the Bears.
On Sunday, the Vikings were without cornerback Mackensie Alexander (elbow, groin) and linebacker Kentrell Brothers (hamstring, wrist). With Alexander out, Mike Hughes was the primary nickel back.
Also inactive were tackle Oli Udoh, center Brett Jones, defensive tackles Hercules Mata’afa and Armon Watts, and wide receiver Davion Davis.
Penalties are continuing to mount for Minnesota.
The Vikings had 12 penalties for 112 yards on Sunday. They are tied for third in the NFL with 44 penalties in five games.
“Our penalties are out of control,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “When we face teams, when we’re neck and neck, it’s going to be hard to overcome those penalties.”
Still, linebacker Anthony Barr said some of the penalties were “questionable.” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer spoke out about one after the game.
In the third quarter, Zimmer challenged a 37-yard pass interference call on Trae Waynes against Cody Latimer. The play was upheld.
“I saw Trae looking back for the ball and the guy reaching both hands on his shoulders, and got him in the head,” Zimmer said. “They’re probably not going to overturn them unless they’re in the NFC Championship Game, but the thing that bothers me is that’s a 50-yard penalty. … So, in my humble opinion, they need to clean all this up.”
Another controversial penalty was Linval Joseph being called in the third quarter for unnecessary roughness in knocking over Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie during a successful field-goal attempt. That gave the Giants a first down, although they eventually settled for a field goal later in the drive.
“Clearly, we got a lot of penalties today,” Joseph said. “That’s something we’ve got to work on. These new rules are crazy, but we have to adapt to them.”
Barr’s big game
When Barr verbally committed last spring to sign with the New York Jets, it looked like he might be playing a lot of games at MetLife Stadium.
He ended up reneging on his commitment and re-signed with the Vikings. But on Sunday, he made the most out of his only appearance this season at MetLife.
In the second quarter, with Minnesota leading 15-7, Barr stuffed running back Jon Hilliman in the end zone for a safety. That came one play after running back Dalvin Cook had fumbled at the Giants’ 1.
“It was kind of our plan to get a safety,” Barr said.
In the fourth quarter, Barr had a diving interception of a Daniel Jones pass.
“They kind of just ran a play we had seen on film, and I just got a good read on it and kind of jumped the route,” Barr said.
So did it ever cross Barr’s mind Sunday that he would be playing a lot of games at MetLIfe had he signed with the Jets?
“No, I never thought about it, but thanks for the information,” he said.