The Minnesota Vikings had a nice team win on Sunday in St. Louis, but some players stood out more than others, and I want to know which Vikings player impressed you the most. Here are your candidates for our Week One “Player of the Game” award. Cast your vote at the bottom.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON: “Flash” made a huge impact as the game’s leading rusher (3 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD) and caught three of his five targets in the passing came (3 catches for 26 yards). He also averaged 24 yards on his two kick return attempts. His 67 yard touchdown run in the third quarter was pretty much when the Rams began to look defeated and withdrawn.
GREG JENNINGS: Jennings led the Vikings pass catchers in the statistical categories of targets (7), catches (6), and yards (58). He scored the first Vikings touchdown of 2014 on an eight yard pass from Matt Cassel.
LINVAL JOSEPH: The impact of Joseph cannot really be described by statistics alone, but anyone paying attention the last few years can tell he is a clear upgrade at defensive tackle for the Vikings. He ended up with five solo tackles and one sack. Joseph led the pass defense to a respectable day where they limited the Rams to only 72 rushing yards (3.3 yards per attempt).
EVERSON GRIFFEN: When your team is winning in the fourth quarter then back-to-back sacks, like Griffen had on Sunday, are a great way to prevent the other team from getting another life. Griffen fresh late into the fourth quarter showed up big at a crucial moment. He ended the day with three total tackles, including those two sacks.
JOSH ROBINSON: Robinson was thought to be in Mike Zimmer’s doghouse, but if that was the case it shouldn’t be after Sunday’s performance. According to PFF, Robinson was thrown at on only three occasions and gave up only one catch for seven yards. He broke up another pass and, of course, accounted for the first interception of 2014 on a beautiful sideline grab. As Brent pointed out, this pick allowed the Vikings to take positive momentum into halftime.
HARRISON SMITH: Man, this guy is so much fun to watch. Smith will be a major asset for this newly-aggressive defense and ended the day with two tackles, a beautiful sack on a blindside blitz, a defended pass, and an interception returned 81 yards for a touchdown. The fourth quarter defensive score was not necessary to get the win, but after last season it sure is nice to see that killer instinct present in the fourth quarter.
BLAIR WALSH: I’m not going to lie, but I was plenty worried about Walsh after his preseason misses. He put those worries at ease for at least a week by having a great day in St. Louis. Six of his seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks and he also aced field goals from 46 and 52 yards early in the game. A kicker can make a world of difference through the course of a football season, so here is hoping Walsh is going to be every bit as dependable as he was in Week One.