The Vikings were holding their breath as they watched offensive lineman Seth Olsen get taken off the field on a stretcher after taking a knee to the helmet in a frightening collision.
A few hours later, everyone was breathing a big sigh of relief when they saw Olsen walking around the locker room and smiling with his teammates.
Olsen was diagnosed with a concussion, but avoided what was initially feared as a far more serious injury after taking a knee to the head from Titans linebacker Scott Solomon in the second quarter of the Vikings’ 24-23 preseason victory Thursday night at Minneapolis.
‘‘When those moments come and they bring that stretcher out, you have no idea what is going on,’’ Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. ‘‘We were just hoping for the best and fortunately things worked out that way.’’
Olsen was out leading the way on a screen pass when he started to fall toward the ground. His helmet hit Solomon’s knee as the linebacker was diving and trying to make a play, and Olsen immediately went down. Head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman raced to his side and immediately called for a stretcher as a hush fell over the crowd.
Concerned teammates lined up about 15 yards away, and players on both sides kneeled in prayer. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and gave a thumbs-up with his left hand as he was wheeled off the field. The four-year veteran started four games for the Vikings last year and was vying for one of the backup roles going into the preseason finale.
RGIII set for opener?
The Redskins put together their first unbeaten preseason in 28 years without Robert Griffin III even taking a snap.
Griffin then tweeted he will be under center when the regular season opens for Washington on Sept. 9, but coach Mike Shanahan hedged after the 30-12 victory over host Tampa Bay.
Fourth-stringer Pat White threw for 181 yards, set up a touchdown with a 66-yard completion to Dezmon Briscoe, and also ran for a TD to help the Redskins finish the preseason 4-0.
Shanahan rested most of his starters, including Griffin, who worked out at Raymond James Stadium for about 30 minutes before walking off the field with Dr. James Andrews. Andrews was in town to examine the quarterback’s surgically repaired right knee.
But Shanahan said he needed to discuss some ‘‘concerns’’ with Andrews and Griffin and would make a decision Monday about whether the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year will start against Philadelphia.
Smith, Sanchez sit
Geno Smith stayed on the sideline. So did Mark Sanchez.
While the New York Jets’ quarterback competition is far from settled, Matt Simms certainly showed he might deserve to stick around when the season starts.
Simms, competing for the No. 3 job, led four scoring drives, and Kahlil Bell ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns as the Jets topped the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20.
Simms finished 33 of 44 for 285 yards while playing almost the entire game; newly signed Graham Harrell took a knee to end it.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he wouldn’t have put Sanchez out on the field if it wasn’t ‘‘important,’’ but Smith might have earned the season-opening start by default.
The Jets have said only that Sanchez is ‘‘day to day’’ with a right shoulder injury, but it’s very possible Smith could be under center against Tampa Bay Sept 8.
Bills’ Leinart struggles
Matt Leinart struggled in his debut for the quarterback-depleted Bills, who closed the preseason with 35-13 loss to the Lions at Orchard Park, N.Y. Looking like someone who’s had just three days practice, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner went 3 for 10 for 11 yards and two interceptions . . . Third-string quarterback Pat Devlin rallied the host Dolphins to a 24-21 victory over the Saints with quarterbacks Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill on the sideline all night . . . Colin Kaepernick threw a touchdown pass to cap his only drive, and the 49ers roughed up the Chargers, 41-6, at San Diego . . . Denver police said a fan who fell from an escalator during the Broncos’ 32-24 loss to Arizona was taken to a hospital. Police said the fan was conscious and talking when being transported to the hospital.