The latest lost, at the hands of the Lions, at least provided fans with a slightly higher quality of individual performances than what was seen in the previous week against the Packers.  In Week Five, Harrison Smith barely edged out the “none” option in our Player of the Game poll here at VT.

This week’s 17-3 loss to Detroit featured an expensive offensive line playing so poorly that it pretty much sabotaged the other efforts of this Vikings team.  Given that the offense turned the ball over three times (all Teddy Bridgewater interceptions), it is hard to argue that giving up only 17 points was a testament to Mike Zimmer’s defense, even including the fact that they benefited from two missed field goals.

Past Winners:

WEEK ONE:  Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith

WEEK THREE:  Harrison Smith

WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater

WEEK FIVE:  Harrison Smith

This week’s nominations are:

JERICK MCKINNON:  Perhaps the lone bright spot ended the day leading the team on the ground and through the air.  He ran the ball 11 times for 40 yards (3.6 yards) and caught six passes for 42 yards.  He didn’t hit any home runs, while always seeming like a threat to do so, and has a clear ability to make tacklers miss.  He had four broken tackles on the day, including two on one screen play.

LINVAL JOSEPH:  It was a big day for Linval Joseph whose position does not lend itself to a giant stat line.  Joseph was manhandling center Dominic Raiola all day long and ended up with three tackles and half a sack on his stat line, but Pro Football Focus credited Joseph with two sacks and explained how he shut down the middle of the line in the run game.

TOM JOHNSON:  As part of a rotation, Tom Johnson has shined and has pretty much been Minnesota’s best defensive lineman, despite limited action.  He actually grades out as their second best defender on this team so far this season.  Johnson ended the day with three tackles, got a nice hit on Matt Stafford, and was responsible for a sack that pushed Detroit back eight yards just before a missed field goal attempt.  His recent arrest stains an otherwise solid season, and he could be seeing an increase in playing time if he keeps it up.

JASPER BRINKLEY:  Ending the day tied for second in tackles (7), Jasper Brinkley was a fairly dependable linebacker for the Vikings on Sunday.  He even made a splash play in the form of a sack and another of his tackles was behind the line of scrimmage.

ANTHONY BARR:  Like Brinkley, the rookie Barr ended his day with seven tackles.  Also, he is one of the linebackers responsible for such a dramatic increase of success versus athletic tight ends like Eric Ebron (two catches, 23 yards) who always seemed to carve up Vikings defenses in recent years.

GERALD HODGES:  With Chad Greenway out with injury, it was Hodges that had to step in and fill the void, and he did a respectable job.  He ended up with six tackles on the day and was responsible for defending two passes, also able to claim plenty of credit for Detroit’s quiet day passing the ball.