The most controversial play of the preseason has led to a hefty fine for Minnesota's Antwione Wiliams.
The Vikings linebacker tweeted on Thursday that the NFL has decided to fine him for a hit that he made on Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler during the fourth quarter of Jacksonville's 14-10 preseason win over the Vikings last week. According to NFL.com, Williams has been fined a total of $20,054, which is a lot money to be fined for breaking a rule that didn't even exist last year.
If you missed the controversy, Williams wasafter he appeared to come down on Kessler with more body weight than needed.
In 2017, that play wouldn't have been penalized, but Williams got flagged this year, becausethat makes it illegal for a defender to come drive his weight down on a quarterback while tackling him.
From the rulebook:
"When tackling a passer who is in a defenseless posture (e.g., during or just after throwing a pass), a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw him down OR land on top of him with all or most of the defender's weight."
Apparently, the ref felt that Williams violated the second part of that rule, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer seemed to agree. Although Zimmer was livid about the penalty during the game, the Vikings coach seemed to agree with the flag after watching a replay following the game.
"After I calmed down a little bit, I looked at it, and [Williams'] head was to the side and he was going to the side," Zimmer said, via ESPN.com. "If he would have just rolled, but he kind of pumped him into the turf. I actually think that was a good call."
A big reason this new rule exists is because of a hit that a Vikings player made last season. As a matter of fact, we should probably just call this thing the "Aaron Rodgers Rule." Rodgers was injured against the Vikings last year after he was driven to the ground by Anthony Barr. Although Barr wasn't penalized for the hit in 2017, if he were to make the same tackle n 2018, he would definitely be flagged.