Cornerback Akayleb Evans is in the concussion protocol for the second time in the past month after reporting symptoms during the Vikings' 27-22 win against the Jets on Sunday.
Evans was initially cleared by medical staff after being evaluated in the third quarter. Evans, a fourth-round rookie who returned Sunday from a two-game absence due to a Nov. 13 concussion, returned in the fourth quarter before exiting again.
"At one point he was evaluated and cleared by the independent [neurologist] and by our sideline," head coach Kevin O'Connell said. "As the game kind of went on, you always keep an eye on those players. ... He started to have some symptoms and reported them. We'll take a look at where he's at, but we immediately got him back out of the game."
Evans, making his second NFL start, was replaced by cornerback Duke Shelley for the rest of the second half. Evans was in the locker room after the game, but players in the concussion protocol aren't allowed to talk to reporters.
"Great team win!" Evans wrote on social media. "I'm feeling good I promise!"
The Vikings defense also lost defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard to a right biceps injury, according to O'Connell, who liked the defense's confidence to finish another close win but said "it's within us" to play more consistently on defense. The Vikings gave up more than 400 yards for a fourth straight game, including over 300 yards after halftime on Sunday.
The Jets offense had gains of 31, 31, 48 and 60 yards during their second-half push.
"It's the explosives," safety Harrison Smith said. "Just got to tackle a little better. Not get greedy in some scenarios."
Smith is now the NFL's active interceptions leader, nabbing the 34th pick of his career to end Jets quarterback Mike White's opening possession. Smith now has five interceptions this season, tying the single-season high he's reached four times in 11 seasons.
Jets slot cornerback Michael Carter II (ankle) and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (shoulder) briefly left in the second half before returning.
'The legs of this team'
The Vikings backfield kept the offense on track as running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison combined for 23 carries for 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns against a tough Jets defensive front.
Cook, Mattison and even quarterback Kirk Cousins — with an 11-yard run to convert a long third down — formed a very effective run game, especially in the first half when they racked up 92 rushing yards on the opening 13 carries.
"We take pride in being the legs of this football team," Mattison said, "so we're always trying to bring the extra energy and extra juice."
Cook, who had 86 rushing yards on 20 carries, needs just 11 rushing yards to pass Bill Brown for fourth on the Vikings' career rushing list. Cook is also only 141 rushing yards behind Chuck Foreman for third.
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson returned to his normal full-time role after a four-game absence due to a right calf injury, which is a good sign for the Vikings defense. Tomlinson had two hits on White and helped the defense hold on during a couple red-zone stops at the end of the game. Tomlinson said his extended time away paid dividends.
"They had me working and getting me back right," Tomlinson said. "Felt like we played some good football."
- Sunday's win marked the ninth straight Vikings victory in one-score games this season. "It really does give us some good experience going into hopefully a long run into January," right tackle Brian O'Neill said. "I hope it gives us an edge when games get tighter later on in the year. We've had a lot of them."
- Jets tight end Tyler Conklin was a popular guy in his return to U.S. Bank Stadium, where he played in many of the 64 appearances he made for the Vikings over four seasons. Conklin, who had a quiet game with two catches for 9 yards, was stopped by former teammates and coaches to talk before and after the game.
- Vikings defensive lineman Ross Blacklock did not play due to an illness that had him listed questionable entering the game.
- Former Vikings receiver Jarius Wright sounded the Gjallarhorn before kickoff. Wright had a game-winning 87-yard catch and run for a touchdown in overtime against the Jets in 2014.