Vikings see Sheldon Richardson of old? No, a new player altogether

EAGAN, Minn. -- It's not hard to see why the Vikings went out and signed former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson this offseason. In his first game with his new team Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 27-year-old interior lineman might h...
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) scrambles in the third quarter against Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (93) at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 9. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, Minn. - It's not hard to see why the Vikings went out and signed former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson this offseason.

In his first game with his new team Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the 27-year-old interior lineman might have been the best player on the defensive line. That's high praise considering that unit features a brick-wall nose tackle in Linval Joseph and two dominant defensive ends in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter.

Richardson finished his team debut with six total tackles, including half a sack, as the Vikings earned a 24-16 win over San Francisco, handing 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo his first loss as a starter.

"We are happy we can put the 'L' on his record," Richardson said. "Hold that."

Richardson played a huge role in that 'L', making Garoppolo uncomfortable with constant pressure on the middle of the offensive line. His play opened things up for the edge rushers, a welcomed sight for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.

"(On one play), Sheldon actually knocked the quarterback off the spot and back up into Danielle, and he got a sack," Zimmer said. "Those are the kinds of things that happen."

On to the next one

After his first game punting for the Vikings, journeyman Matt Wile knows there's room for improvement. He punted six times, with four of them landing inside the 20-yard line.

Still, Wile can't shake his 29-yard shank that fluttering out of bounds.

"I just dropped it inside a little bit," he said. "It was a good snap and I just dropped it a hair inside. I ended up losing like five yards out of it. It wasn't great."

It wasn't all bad, though, and Wile knows it's something to build on moving forward.

"I thought overall it was pretty good minus that one punt," Wile added. "I felt good."

Vikings lose Collins

The Vikings' offensive line has suffered another blow.

Aviante Collins, who injured his right bicep in practice last Thursday, was placed on injured reserve Monday, and coach Mike Zimmer said he is out for the season. A source said he will have surgery later this week.

To take Collins' spot on the roster, the Vikings signed guard Bryan Witzmann, who started 13 games last season for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Collins was in position to be Minnesota's top reserve tackle, a role that now has gone to rookie Brian O'Neill.

While the Vikings announced last week that Collins had hurt his elbow, a source said the injury is primarily to his bicep. He was hurt while blocking a defensive lineman.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Witzmann played in 27 games the past two season with the Chiefs. Undrafted in 2014 out of South Dakota State, he spent time with the Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys without getting into a regular-season game.

Briefly

Zimmer said he expects cornerback Trae Waynes to practice this week heading into Sunday's game at Green Bay. Late in the first half against the 49ers, Waynes was lost for the game with a knee injury.