FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Julian Edelman gave Patriots fans a scare last weekend against the Jets when he crashed hard on his right arm while attempting to make a leaping catch.

The pass fell incomplete, and Edelman immediately reached for his right elbow upon hitting the ground. He hopped to his feet, shook his arm, quickly rubbed his triceps and made his way back to the huddle.

Play on.

“I go 120 (miles per hour),” said Edelman, who turned 32 in May and shook off the second-quarter injury during a 27-13 win. “That’s just what I do. Unfortunately it’s a strength and a weakness. You’ve got to play smart the older you get in this league.

“I’m going to go out there and I’m going to play hard.”

With the new rules, though, Edelman feels that going airborne can actually be a safe move.

“They’re not going to hit you high,” he said, “so I’d rather tumble and fall on a back or a shoulder than have my knees taken out, which is the route this league’s going. So sometimes it’s that kind of decision.”

Edelman, who missed last year because of a torn ACL, served a four-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drug violation to begin this season. Since then he’s racked up 510 receiving yards in seven games. His 72.9 yards per game are higher than 2016 (69.1).

In the third quarter, he showed the injury wouldn’t stop him. Edelman took Tom Brady’s pass at the 15, put his head down, absorbed two hits and pinballed his way into the end zone.

The touchdown, which came with 1:52 left in the third quarter, put the Patriots ahead and in control for the remainder of the game.

“I just tried to get in the end zone and protect the ball. Ball security is job security here,” said Edelman. “The euphoria you get when you score is always high. I’m just a fiery guy.”

The play gave the Patriots’ sideline a lift in a close game.

“You know when he has those couple extra yards to get, especially when he’s getting toward the end zone, he’s going to give it all to get into that end zone,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “He’s gives it all to this game and to the team whenever he’s out there. That was a great play by him, great catch, turn. (He) hustled straight up the field and made that play.”

Edelman finished with four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

THE VIKINGS are five-point underdogs and that’s OK with Coach Mike Zimmer.

“I think we play better when we’re underdogs,” he said.

The Patriots will be the fourth opponent favored over the Vikings (6-4-1).

“It’s just us against the world,” Zimmer said of his mindset.

As underdogs this season, the Vikings are 2-2 against the spread but 1-3 on the scoreboard. A winning percentage of .421 since 2015 in games the Vikings were supposed to lose isn’t all that bad.

“(Zimmer) always kind of reminds us we play better when we have a chip on our shoulder, when we feel like we have something to prove,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said Friday. “We’ve played better as a team (as an underdog).”

MINNESOTA’S LOST four straight regular-season games with New England, though the teams haven’t met since 2014. The Vikings have won twice at New England, but their last win was in 2000, Belichick’s first year.

The Vikings have the third-fewest rushing yards in the league this year after finishing seventh last year.


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