EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Several Detroit Lions were upset about what they felt were cheap shots in last week’s game against the Vikings, and the NFL apparently agreed, fining Minnesota linebacker Jasper Brinkley and safety Mistral Raymond this week.
Brinkley was fined $21,000 and Raymond $7,875 for hits that came three plays apart during Minnesota’s 34-24 win. The Lions were also upset about a hit by safety Harrison Smith on receiver Calvin Johnson, but Smith was not fined.
Raymond drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty when he hit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure late after teammate Kevin Williams had already tackled Leshoure. A few plays later, Brinkley was given a personal four for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Johnson, who had reportedly been dealing with a nerve injury leading into the game.
Raymond, speaking the day after the game and before the fine was announced, regretted the hit.
“I looked at it and just got to make a better decision with the direction this game is heading as far as player safety and all that stuff,” Raymond said. “I’ve just got to make a better decision.”
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was fined $21,000 for a hit against Johnson earlier this season, which caused Johnson to miss the rest of the first game between the two teams with what Johnson reportedly said was a concussion.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz told the Detroit Free Press this week he didn’t think the hits were intentional.
“I don’t think anybody in this league is trying to hurt somebody,” he said. “He’s a 6-foot-5 receiver, and when Matt (Stafford) throws it up high to him, people have to go up high to be able to get the ball. He got hit in the head twice.
“I’m sure the league — we know that the league sees that. I don’t think anybody’s trying to do it on purpose.”
Detroit cornerback Chris Houston said after Sunday’s game that the Vikings intentionally tried to injure him when he left the game with an ankle injury, and said an offensive lineman — later revealed to be guard Brandon Fusco — intentionally landed on his ankle. Fusco was not fined and didn’t appear to intentionally land on Houston.
Lions receiver Ryan Broyles was fined $10,000 for an illegal crackback block in the first quarter against Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield.