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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 His 67 yard touchdown run in the third quarter was pretty much when the Rams began to look defeated and withdrawn.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.
The Vikings look like a team plenty capable of putting points on the scoreboard. The first two preseason games under Norv Turner have been encouraging, Adrian Peterson will be ready to do his thing in Week One, and Cordarrelle Patterson will once again be returning kicks.
Actually, that last part is speculation at this point, and an item worthy of debate.
As a rookie, Patterson established himself as the NFL’s most electric kick returner last season, and regularly gave the Vikings offense an advantage via stellar field position. He ended up returning 43 kickoffs for 1,393 yards (32.4 yard average) and two scores.
Patterson hasn’t been returning kicks in the preseason, as it is one of the quickest ways to get a player injured in the modern NFL, but Mike Zimmer said last month that he was still the guy. Given Patterson’s increased role and prominence in the offense, however, some might argue that his usage on special teams should be restricted.
Thus, our “Poll of the Week” will hopefully lead to some interesting debate in the comments section.
The Vikings have made a number of exciting additions this offseason. The changes to the coaching staff might make the biggest overall impact, and the free agent signings might see more playing time, but I want to know which of the Vikings draft selections (and maybe even UDFA’s) might make the biggest impact as a rookie.
Despite being stuck in the dumpster fire that was the 2013 Cleveland Browns, wide receiver Josh Gordon was easily one of my top five favorite players to watch last season. With Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, it didn’t matter who was the latest starting quarterback in Cleveland, Gordon was going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch each Sunday.
Gordon has always had struggles when it came to staying clean. The result was getting kicked off a team, sitting out a year, and having to enter the NFL via the supplemental Draft. The Browns took a gamble, giving up a second rounder to get him, but it looked like a gamble that would pay off if he could stay clean.
Apparently that “if” was just too big.
With great popularity comes great responsibility… or something like that.
For whatever reason, the NFL seems to be a mainstream battleground for social debate fairly constantly these days, and this offseason seems to really be amassing the headlines of this nature. Whether it be the wrongful termination accusations of Chris Kluwe, the domestic abuse case with Ray Rice, the draft placement of Michael Sam, the double standard that exists between player and owner conduct, or the offensive nickname of one football franchise.
As far as I can remember, I have never once written about that last topic, as the Washington Redskins nickname is not really Vikings related and this is a Vikings blog. Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum found an intelligent way to raise awareness of the issue in Minnesota, however, and dropped a call for action squarely at the feet of Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.