EAGAN, Minn. -- The timing was perfect last October for Linval Joseph to provide an idea for a Halloween costume.
In the Minnesota Vikings’ 23-21 victory at Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 2018, the 329-pound Vikings nose tackle grabbed a fumble in midair in the second quarter and rumbled 64 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. He then went to the sidelines and put on sunglasses and an oxygen mask.
That image of Joseph produced a plethora of memes. Three weeks later, Joseph began to see all sorts of images online of Halloween costumes related to the big play by the big guy.
“A lot of people dressed up (as me) on Halloween and stuff like that,” Joseph said Friday. “It was good times. A lot of people dressed up and tagged me. Halloween was pretty funny. Kids and grown people dressed up as me with sunglasses and oxygen masks. It was pretty cool.”
On Sunday, Oct. 13, the Vikings face the Eagles again, this time at U.S. Bank Stadium. Joseph joked that the timing would be right to provide another Halloween treat.
Joseph’s touchdown last year broke open a tight game. The score was tied 3-3 and the Eagles had first-and-10 at the Minnesota 31 when Stephen Weatherly sacked Carson Wentz, Joseph caught the loose ball in midair and headed for the end zone.
“It was a great moment,” Joseph said of the only touchdown in his 10-year NFL career. “It was a big play. It was a jump start for our team, and after that play we were ready to play.”
Joseph said he wasn’t that winded even though that was the perception.
“I actually wasn’t really that tired,” he said. “I came in kind of fresh because I didn’t start that series. … (Getting oxygen) is what you’ve got to do when you get back on the field. Get some more air.”
Joseph explained why he was wearing sunglasses.
“I had surgery on my eyes, so I can’t have direct sunlight on my eyes, so I wear a viser (on his helmet on the field),” said Joseph, who underwent LASIK surgery in the summer of 2018.
Joseph said he’s not as sensitive to light this season as he was last year. He said the surgery has really helped.
“It helped my vision,” he said. “It was hard for me to see at night. I’ve got LASIK and now I have 20-20 vision. It’s helped with everything.”
As for last year’s fumble return, he is still hearing about it.
“You can never get the image of him with his sunglasses on and the oxygen out of your mind,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said.