I’ve always had a rule of thumb: If your defense can hold the opponent to 17 points or less then you should win the football game. Obviously, the outcomes of NFL games are more nuanced and complex than that, but the Vikings offense has now failed the defense two weeks in a row. The defense isn’t without their faults, as evidenced by that last-minute collapse, but they performed well for most of the afternoon as individuals and as a unit.
That is why they again dominate the nominees list for our “Player of the Game” award. Cast your vote below.
WEEK ONE: Cordarrelle Patterson
WEEK TWO: Harrison Smith
WEEK THREE: Harrison Smith
WEEK FOUR: Teddy Bridgewater
WEEK FIVE: Harrison Smith
WEEK SIX: Linval Joseph
JERICK MCKINNON: For the second time of his young career, Jerick McKinnon eclipsed 100 yards (103) and now holds the record for longest run of the season against the Buffalo defense (29 yards – Jerome Felton is second with 21 yards). He had two catches on the day, as well, but netted negative two yards.
EVERSON GRIFFEN: This was the huge day that we all wanted to see out of Griff. He eight tackles (7 solo), two for a loss, three sacks (should be 3.5), and did it all against one of the NFL’s better left tackles. It is hard to understate the impact he had on this game, even if the end result was a loss.
ANTHONY BARR: It won’t be long before opposing offensive coordinators are game planning to keep the ball away from the rookie, especially if he improves his tackling fundamentals. Barr recovered two fumbles today, deflected a pass, and was second on the team with 10 tackles (8 solo). One of those tackles was behind the line of scrimmage. This guy keeps looking improved on a weekly basis and it seems like the sky is the limit.
CHAD GREENWAY: At this point, I’m not sure it is Chad Greenway’s fault that he gives up big plays to athletic tight ends, as the coaches are the ones that keep putting him in a position to do so. Outside of that glaring play on that last drive, though, Greenway had a productive day. He led the team with 15 tackles (seven solo), one pass deflection, and a forced fumble.
BLAIR WALSH: Despite some inconsistency in the preseason seemingly spilling into the regular season, Walsh is quickly jumping back into the Pro Bowl kicker conversation. Today, he continued to show his booming leg on kickoffs, and nailed all three of his field goals which included a 55 yarder.
OTHER: I think the winner of this week’s award will go to one of the above guys for obvious reasons, but there are cases to be made for others to be nominated, and I fully understand that. Guys like Jarius Wright and Greg Jennings came up big at the right moments, and Xavier Rhodes played really well for most of the game, so feel free to check the “other” box and cast your vote via the comments section if my nominations didn’t align with your personal take on today’s action.