Develin has a spotlight day with two TDs in Patriots win

Staff photo by TOM KING Patriots fullback James Develin talks about his two TDs in Sunday's 24-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – James Devilin had a media crowd around his locker that he probably had never seen before following Sunday’s 24-10 New England Patriots win over the Minnesota Vikings.

“Hopefully, when your number’s called, you step up,” the fullback said after he scored two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 2 yards. “Whatever role I have, I just try to make the most of it.”

He did, in a game that was as much rock ’em sock’em as it was wide open .

“It was awesome,” Develin said. “Though I really have to give all the props to the offensive line. All I did was get the gall and follow those guys and fall forward. They did a really awesome job all game.”

Develin has recently become more involved in the Patriots short yardage attack. But two touchdowns? That’s unusual.

“Honestly I’ve never dreamt about a game like this,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever thought about it. I know my role, and that is to get these other guys in the end zone, but it’s a really cool experience to get in myself. I’m thankful for the coaches having the confidence to call those plays, and thankful for our offensive line doing a great job opening up holes.”

Develin always gets rave reviews from his teammates, including Sunday.

“It’s awesome,” running back James White said on the fullback’s two TDs. “Not many teams use a fullback across the league. We are one that does, and he makes plays for us, not just blocking – he catches it, he’s getting touchdowns. So, I mean, it’s well-deserved for him.

“He works hard for us each and every week at fullback, on special teams – just does whatever needs to be done.”

Develin never takes anything for granted.

“It’s cool, I’m still on the payroll here,” he said. “I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world.”

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Patriots running back Rex Burkhead made his debut and was a spare part in a 160-yard rushing attack with 20 yards on seven carries. He had spent most of the season on injured reserve.

But Sunday he got that first hit.

“Yeah, that always kind of welcomes you back into the game,” he said. “Whenever you get out there, get the ball back into your hands, get a feel for it. It starts to come back quickly, and that was a great opponent that we faced so that was a big win for us…Whatever role I have, I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was impressed with the job the Patriots defense did in holding his team to 10 points with two interceptions. New England used multiple fronts and defensive alignments to throw the Vikings off their game.

“I thought they played aggressive tonight,” he said. “I thought they did a good job of mixing up what theyw ere doing defensively and changing a lot of different things. A lot of guys standing up and coming from different areas and so I thought they did a nice job of trying to confuse us.”

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Injured tight end Dwayne Allen was the most notable player on the Patriots inactive list. Other inactives were defensive backs Duke Dawson, Jr. and Keion Crossen; defensive linemen Keionta Davis, Danny Shelton and Derek Rivers; plus offensive lineman James Ferentz.

Out for the Vikings were quarterback Kyle Sloter, wideout Chad Beebe, tight end David Morgan, running back Mike Boone, linebacker Devante Downs, center Brett Jones and defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes.

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Tom Brady finally went over the 1,000 yard mark with a first quarter 5-yard run for a first down, and lot was made about it after the game. “Hopefully I don’t go backward next week,” Brady said with a grin. “So yeah, it was good to get the win, you know? That’s what I’m most excited about.”

Brady’s TD toss to Josh Gordon at the end of the third quarter was career TD pass 579 (including the post season), tying him with Peyton Manning for the most all-time. Gordon was also the recipient earlier this year of Brady’s 500th regular season-only TD pass. “It must be fate, I guess,” he said. “It’s just great to have the opportunity.”

The Patriots, now 9-3, extended their post-merger record of consecutive winning seasons to 18…

Next up: A trip to Miami next Sunday, 1 p.m., where they’ve lost four of their last five.

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