Brian Robison’s absence because of a back injury created opportunities for a broader rotation among defensive linemen, and Minnesota’s two-touchdown lead late in Sunday’s game allowed rookie Tashawn Bower to cash in his.
Bower sacked Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff on fourth-and-10 with 19 seconds remaining, snuffing the Rams’ last-gasp drive at the Vikings’ 14-yard line. It was Bower’s first NFL sack in just his second game.
“It means everything,” he said. “It’s something you dream about as a kid. You’ll never forget it.”
On the second-to-last play of the game, Bower and fellow reserve defensive end Stephen Weatherly boxed in Goff on the rush.
“We had it bunched up the middle and I came back underneath and finished,” Bower said.
Bower went undrafted out of Louisiana State but signed with the Vikings and earned a roster spot with an impressive training camp and preseason. He was inactive Weeks 1-7, played on special teams against Cleveland two weeks ago and was activated again with Robison out.
“These guys work their rear ends off all week long, all year long, and get a chance to go in there and prove what they can do, it was good,” said coach Mike Zimmer. “We’re going to need them down the stretch; that’s just how the game works.”