In Adam’s absence, I forgot to do a player of the game poll! Once again, the defense did more than enough to put the offense in a position to win, regardless of the final drive, and they didn’t quite execute. Regardless, a win feels better than a loss, and there are definitely a lot of performances to celebrate, mostly on the defense.
WEEK ONE: Cordarrelle Patterson
WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith
WEEK THREE: Harrison Smith
WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater
WEEK FIVE: Harrison Smith
WEEK SIX: Linval Joseph
WEEK SEVEN: Everson Griffen
ANTHONY BARR: The obvious choice, he got the strip, sack and score to win the game in overtime, one of the few times we’ve had a walkoff defensive score in NFL history—especially in overtime. Barr was also a fantastic pass rusher, not just notching a sack, but a hit and a hurry as well. His eight tackles consisted of at least five tackles behind or near the line of scrimmage and he only missed one tackle all game. With that however, was somewhat suspect coverage as well as giving up the final score.
EVERSON GRIFFEN: Last week’s winner didn’t disappoint, and his sack can be added to his already prodigious total for the year. With that are at least two hits and even more quarterback hurries. He didn’t disappoint in run defense either, adding three defensive stops near the line of scrimmage and another tackle in the passing game to his overall total. He was everywhere, showing off technique and athleticism in exactly the way the Vikings had planned for when they signed him.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON: It may be common to complain about Patterson these days (either in how he’s used or in his ability), but don’t let that distract you from the fact that he led the Vikings in passing yardage on only eight targets. Those 86 yards came with some pretty impressive plays, including a sideline catch worthy of any highlight reel. Though there were some plays that still invited questions, he put together a good performance despite the overall offensive output of the Vikings.
SHARRIF FLOYD: Another phenomenal performance to continue the trend of explosive play he’s recently started, Floyd definitely has an argument for having the best performance on the field. Internally, the Vikings credited Floyd with five solo tackles and four assists (most on the team)—quite a bit for a defensive tackle—and his tackles often were for loss or minimal gain. He had the highest “success count” of any defensive player not named Anthony Barr on his tackles, and has a hurry to his name, too. He was also great at redirecting runners and accounting for his gap.
JERICK MCKINNON: The team’s leading rusher (thankfully) hit 5.2 yards a carry in this game, which also happens to be his career average thus far. In addition to his 83 yards, he had 2.9 yards per carry after contact and had the fourth-highest “elusivity rating” among running backs in Week 8, per Pro Football Focus. He didn’t allow a sack or a hit and only one hurry in pass protection, and this time gained his yards in better situations than last week—instead of meaningless draws on third and long, he gained his yards on first and ten and third and short.
OTHER: There’s a case to be made for Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson and some other defenders. If we look at Teddy Bridgewater’s two-minute drill and his second-half performance overall, he had a great outing as well. Go ahead and check “other” and explain in the comments who you think deserves the player of the week credits.