Vikings linebacker Nick Vigil shows new team a little something special

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Linebacker Nick Vigil was a two-way player at Utah State, and he looked the part Sunday.

Vigil, a 28-year-old linebacker in his first season with the Vikings, returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the second half to give the Vikings a 30-24 lead, but it was the execution that brought out the athleticism.

Vigil extended his arms like a wide receiver to grab the pass from Kyler Murray on the left side of the defense, then demonstrated his ability to escape on the way to his first career touchdown in the NFL.

After stiff-arming speedster Rondale Moore at the 20, Vigil slithered past guard Josh Jones to get into the end zone before rolling to a finish.

Nothing, really.

“Just dropped to my spot, read (Murray’s) eyes,” Vigil said. “He was staring it down, so I was able to break on it and catch the ball. I thought (Moore) was gonna get me from behind. That guy’s a little faster than me, so he caught me pretty quick, but I was able to escape him.

“Ahh… I don’t know if you can say ‘due,’ but it felt good to finally get one.”

Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson, a former Cardinals player who knows something about State Farm Stadium, was dropping into his zone and did not see the play develop, but the crowd reaction tipped him off.

“I just heard the crowd kind of take a gasp for air, so I knew we had to do something good,” said Peterson, who spent his first 10 pro seasons with Cardinals.

“I looked up on the big screen and Nick was going the other way with the football.”

Vigil also joined the Vikings’ defense as a free agent this season after playing his first four years with Cincinnati then joining with the Chargers in 2020. He signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract in March.

“Nick has been phenomenal for us since he got here in OTAs, throughout minicamps, and he’s been making plays for us thus far throughout the season,” Peterson said.

Principally a linebacker at Utah State, Vigil also spent time as a running back, and had 169 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Vigil also was involved in a disputed play late in the first half, when he came up with a fumble that was disallowed after review.

On second down from the Vikings’ 5-yard line, Moore ran a jet sweep over the right side and lost the ball when cornerback Bashaud Breeland popped the ball loose on a tackle.

The ball popped into Vigil’s hands, but a review indicated that he did not have both feet in bounds after gaining possession, and the Cardinals retained possession.

“No, just kinda popped into my chest,” Vigil said. “I was joking with guys on the sidelines (that) I gotta start working on my toe-taps. Get two feet down.”

A.J. Green was called for holding on that play to move the ball back, but Murray scored on a designed quarterback keeper up the middle on the next play, following center Rodney Hudson.

“They had a good play called,” Vigil said. “In that situation, there’s not much you can do. We’ve just got to see it a little faster and all rally to it before he gets in.”

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