Following games like the stinker the Vikings played out Monday night makes the “Player of the Week” voting feel like less of an award and more of a formality, but tradition is tradition.
Last year, three players won the VT voting three times each for three-way tie on the year. Those players were Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, and Teddy Bridgewater. Something tells me that none of those players will take home the heralded (it is heralded by me, so therefore it is heralded, so be quiet you) award in Week One of the 2015 season, however.
Let me get one thing out of the way: there were no spectacular performances in this game. Some players didn’t look totally lost out there, and a couple even looked competent, so those players get the nomination after the jump.
As always, if you feel I missed somebody worthy of your vote, please feel free to hit “OTHER” and tell me who that vote is for in the comments section.
And the nominations are…
The incoming free agent wide out was tied with Kyle Rudolph as Bridgewater’s top target. Both Wallace and Rudolph received seven targets with Wallace hauling in six of them for the catch and the seventh being a long endzone throw that should’ve resulted in a game-changing pass interference call. The call didn’t happen, and those things happen in every game, but that shouldn’t diminish the fact that both Bridgewater and Wallace put themselves in a position for success on that play.
As Trent Dilfer screamed into your living room, the most energetic and productive defender the Vikings fielded on Monday was outside linebacker Anthony Barr, without a doubt. Barr, who was perhaps the only Vikings starter to actually lose some of that hype-train steam during the preseason, was flying around the field and has me excited about watching him play against true pocket passers like Matt Stafford. Barr ended the day with a team-leading 12 tackles, a devastating stop in the backfield, and one defended pass.
From what I could tell, our new long snapper did his job correctly throughout the entire evening, which is something not too many Vikings can say. So, yeah, he snapped footballs and stuff.
Many people, including me, would love to see Stefon Diggs suit up on game day. For a team that could obviously use a bit of a spark, what could it hurt to make him active next week? Still, don’t expect the arrival of Diggs to spell the end for Sherels, and the Minnesota product just keeps on finding ways to make a difference for the Vikings. Sherels returned the blocked field goal attempt 44 yards in the first quarter to put the Vikings in (what we thought to be) field goal range and also had a nifty nine yard punt return. The heads-up return qualified as the team’s longest play (of any sort) for the evening.
The offensive line was terrible, but Matt Kalil actually played pretty well. Most of the line’s failures originated in the middle, where John Sullivan is sadly absent, and Bridgewater’s five sacks taken could hardly be blamed on Kalil by any means. Kalil has tougher matchups ahead, starting next week, but for now he is looking like an improved version of what he was last year.
The Niners did a lot to destroy our defense, but long plays through the air weren’t among them. They completed no passes over 20 yards and a big reason for that was Xavier Rhodes playing like the top-tier cornerback that he is. Rhodes had seven tackles, including a few really nice ones, in addition to doing a nice job keep Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin under wraps.