MINNEAPOLIS – Referee Bill Leavy mistakenly penalized the Minnesota Vikings after coach Leslie Frazier tried to challenge a ruling on a muffed punt in the second quarter of Sunday's game against Cleveland.
When Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin muffed the punt, Vikings linebacker Larry Dean scooped the ball up and headed to the end zone. The officials correctly ruled that the Vikings could not advance a muffed punt and awarded Minnesota the ball at the Cleveland 26.
Frazier threw the red flag to challenge. But NFL rules stipulate that changes of possession can only be reviewed from the booth. Leavy then issued a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But a rule change this offseason says the Vikings should have been charged a timeout and not penalized the yardage.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org