Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo’s sartorial message: ‘Make Football Violent Again’
Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo has made it clear where he stands on the NFL’s controversial new helmet rule.
Sendejo has been wearing a hat during training camp, including during a walkthrough Friday morning, that has the message, "Make Football Violent Again.’’
Sendejo is known as a hard hitter. He was suspended for a game last season for using his helmet on a hit on Baltimore wide receiver Mike Wallace.
"I got it from a buddy. He used to play here," said Sendejo, not naming the player. "So, I just wear it. It fits good and it’s black. I like it. It’s got a good message."
Sendejo was asked Friday if he’s wearing the hat now because of the NFL’s new rule that will penalize tacklers for lowering their head and leading with their helmets.
Andrew Sendejo possibly sending a message to the NFL with his hat. Said he has been wearing for a while but that it still applies. #VikingsCamp
"I’ve been wearing this for a while, but I guess it applies more now," said Sendejo, who wore the hat backward during Friday’s walkthrough.
Sendejo said defensive backs are responding "poorly" to rules that place limits on their tackling technique. When asked if he doesn’t like it that the NFL is making football less violent, he said, "Correct."
Sendejo said he still doesn’t believe he should have been suspended for the hit on Wallace on Oct. 22, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium. He sat out the following week’s game, Oct. 29 game against Cleveland in London.
Later in the day, Sendejo took to Twitter and posted a photo of him wearing a helmet with another facemask attached to the top. He wrote, "Made helmet alterations so I’m always ‘leading with the facemask.’ Simplifying calls for league office and playing within new NFL rule changes. Next."’
On Thursday, an NFL officiating crew met with the Vikings at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan to clarify the new helmet rule and other points of emphasis this season. After watching Thursday night’s Hall of Fame Game between Baltimore and Chicago, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Friday it is a "concern" instructing players because some are "not sure’’ what to do, but that everything eventually work itself out.
"That rule’s been in for a while,’’ Zimmer said. "I think they’re going to enforce it a little more and they’re going to make it a little more less ambiguous. … I was talking to the team (Thursday) night (and said), ‘Basically, they don’t want you to use the helmet as a weapon.’ … They’re trying to eliminate that from the game to make sure the players are more safe, so I have no problem with that.’’