Poll Of The Week

Week 16 Player Of The Game: Vote Now!

Teddy Bridgewater has won this heralded (by me) award two weeks in a row, and it was a landslide last week, but he’ll be in for a little tougher competition this week, I suspect.

The 49-17 shellacking of the visibly uninspired New York Giants featured a ton of impressive performances for the Vikings. It really was a team win, and despite all the great stats and highlights to come out of it, picking just one player to anoint as “the best” of the week might be tougher than I imagined.

Here are this week’s nominees…


Teddy Bridgewater led the team to a lopsided win to cap off a nice December month for the young quarterback. He completed 15 of his 25 passing attempts, posted 168 passing yards, an additional 12 rushing yards, and a nifty touchdown throw to Kyle Rudolph. Perhaps this performance isn’t too noteworthy for what Bridgewater did, but it is what he didn’t do (turn the ball over) that let the rushing attack and dominating defensive play turn this game into touch football by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.


Adrian Peterson used Week 16 to build a bit of a lead over Doug Martin for the NFL’s rushing title. He turned his 22 carries into 104 yards (4.7 yard average) and the performance kept the Vikings ahead in the field position battle for most of the game. Peterson also had a fifteen yard pickup on his lone catch, although he did drop one pass, and held up pretty well in pass protection.


Although he played a very limited role, McKinnon got his chance to shine once the game was out of hand, and “Jet” didn’t disappoint. He carried the ball seven times for 89 yards (12.7 yard average) and scored twice making my brain unable to avoid the phrase “McKinnon is McInAgain.” He also caught two of his three targets in the passing game which he converted into eight yards gained.


As hard as I’ve been on this offensive line, and as beleaguered as New York’s defense might be, it would be a mistake to not acknowledge how well they played with Mike Harris once again leading the way as the team’s most consistent blocker. Pro Football Focus went out of their way to note how dominant the Vikings line was in the run blocking category, producing a game recap with the headline “Vikings Interior Gashes Giants On The Ground.” They noted that even if you took McKinnon’s 68 yard dash to the endzone out of the equation, over half of the Vikings rushing yards came before contact.


The rotation along the defensive line is just scary when you sit back and think about it. Despite the return of Sharrif Floyd, Tom Johnson peppered Eli Manning throughout the evening, leading him to produce five tackles and two sacks, a very productive performance that clearly left Manning longing for some better protection as the game wore on.


The rookie defensive end is quickly shedding the “raw” label and appears to be a legitimate option for Mike Zimmer defenses of Vikings future. In the present, however, Hunter is churning out a very impressive rookie campaign and Sunday was no exception. He was all over the place with three tackles both on defense and on special teams, he added another sack to his season total, and even managed 10 yards on an impromptu kick return.


It might have taken a year to get Munnerlyn really in sync on this defense, but he certainly looks to be at home as Mike Zimmer’s slot corner in 2015. Munnerlyn ended Sunday’s game with three tackles, an important interception that led to a touchdown, and was the game’s highest graded cornerback over at Pro Football Focus.


Harrison Smith returned to the field just in time to remind the general public, on a national stage, just how ridiculous it is that he isn’t a Pro Bowler this year. Smith played lights out football, which was greatly missed during his absence, and capped the nice day off with a 35 yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter… the turnover and score that really started to get the Vikings some significant separation in the contest.


I loved what Jarius Wright did on his three receptions, two of which went for third down conversions. Kicker Blair Walsh was the team’s leading scorer despite missing an extra point attempt. Everson Griffen was a consistent presence on Sunday despite what his stat line says. I understand you might have another favorite choice for this award and, by all means, please hit “OTHER” and cast your vote via the comments section!

The results of your voting in previous can always be tracked on our SCHEDULE PAGE.


Show More

Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

Related Articles


  1. Adam, you usually telegraph (whether consciously, or unconsciously) your pick.This is the first time I’m not sure which way you’re going.

    Who you going with? If I had to guess from your writing, I’d say McKinnon or Harris.

    1. I’m betting it’s “McKinnon is McInAgain.”
      Or judging by the picture it’s Smith. Because Adam, like everyone else apparently, is mesmerized by Harrison’s amazing uncovered biceps.

      1. Hey guys! I actually never vote, to be honest, and I select the photo based on which of the photos made available to VT is the “coolest.” I try to call it like I see it, with some opinions from others mixed in, and never intend to sway the voting. I try to give each nominee their due and really try to anticipate who everyone would like to see nominated (I.e. Very few “other” votes).

        With that being said… This week I’d personally be tempted to click “other” and vote for Jarius Wright. He caught all three of his targets, accounted one-third of our conversions on third down, and I really want to see him more involved on early passing downs… Mr. Reliable. He wouldn’t have had a chance in this poll, though, no matter how impressed I was with him on those early drives.

          1. Honest! Haha. In blowouts like that, in my brain, I do tend to weight early production greater than late production, though. Not saying it’s the right way to think, just think those three first downs he got us were pretty important and I’m a sucker for consistent do-your-damn-job football. Hard to argue against Harry and those guns, though!

            1. Adam, you’re killin’ me.

              3 catches, 57 yards, no TD’s in a 49-17 shellacking, and that’s your MVP?

              You’ve got a soft spot for the kid.

              1. He helped us to early points by making sure those chains moved. Something Wallace, Patterson and Charles Johnson certainly weren’t doing. I don’t have any particular bias towards Wright, I was just that genuinely impressed with his performance at a point in the game where NY still looked somewhat interested in trying to win.

                1. I get what you’re saying, Adam, but I’d argue Wright did what you’d expect of an NFL receiver (something we’re not necessarily used to), whereas Harry put in a pro bowl performance.

        1. I agree with you Adam, I was very impressed with Jarius, I brought that up in a different thread on VT. He has been Mr. Consistent, his first two catches of the game were huge!! He has consistently moved the chains on 3rd down. But, I must admit, I am biased as I have liked him since drafted, as I have been biased INRE Jerrick. Both players that the coaches keep saying so many positive things, don’t complain, stay out of trouble, give it their all when given the chance. But Everson was very disruptive, along with Johnson and Robison.. Kendricks was a bit quiet, but the defense in general was very good.

  2. As much as I want to vote Harrison I have to pick Hunter he played extremely well and is a dangerous addition to the Zimmer Hell fire defense. Glad to see Hitman is right back in all pro form skoll Vikings drink from the skullcap of Rodgers

  3. I voted Johnson. I think this win came about by control on the defensive line. Hunter was great, but in spot duty, says a ton that we can have so many deserving candidates. If only our offensive line could get as nasty as our defensive line, we would be a serious force week in and week out. Congrats to all the candidates.

  4. Harrison Smith makes the D a greater force. When you can watch him in person, it is uncanny how often he is in on a play. My assessment is that he is far more than biceps (Tomb). He is a very instinctive and perceptive player, and experience is only going to serve him better and better. (John Lynch comes to mind) If I’m the opposing QB, he’s the one I would keep my eye on and steer clear of which is when Hunter, Robison & Co. become even more effective.

    Two other players who are probably not PoG material from Sunday night, but are nonetheless impressive are Xavier Rhodes and Chad Greenway. Teams are steering clear of Rhodes (I know he gave up the TD, but that was mop-up time) and Greenway makes up for his lost step with no loss of intensity and savy. Really like both of those guys as rocks on our defense.

  5. Gotta go with Zach Line this week, Adam. His bruising run for three yards in the first quarter set up this blow out win. That’s triple his average yardage per carry. Line’s Law For Victory was proven again this week. Every game that Zach runs the ball, the Vikings win. Not theory, not hypothesis. Fact. Zach Line runs the ball as if he were the wounded stepchild of Walter Payton and George Patton.

  6. I voted Harry as well. After that housing pick six is when NY really seemed to throw it in. Dagger.
    However, I get Jarius being given more credit. He’s been solid all year when called upons. Only bad thing I’ve seen is the fumble in Arizona.
    I love this team and the mindset Zim has instilled. Very refreshing as a Vikings fan.
    I like the Sproles-ness McKinnon is developing into, heckuva 1-2 punch. I think we’ll see a lot more creativity out of the offense next week and in the playoffs.

  7. Can I also say that Kyle Rudolph has really opened my eyes the last few weeks, especially getting open downfield. I’ve often been critical of him but he’s looked damned impressive the last three games. Knock on wood, moving forward he’ll be both healthy and used as a downfield threat more. I’d be as happy as any other fan if he finally lived up to the hype and finished a season well north of 10 yards per reception.

  8. This week’s Player of the Game is very hard to choose because the victory was such a broad-based team effort. I considered voting for Harrison Smith (popular with some of the fellas, too, let me tell you) or Jarius Wright on the “Other” line but, somewhat to my own surprise, I went with Peterson. Yeah, he had a bunch of first-and-two and first-and-three runs but damn if he didn’t also have some plays where he made one, two, three or more incredible cuts. He looked a lot more elusive and a lot less stiff than he has in the other games I’ve seen this season and his cuts allowed him to find holes in the Giants defense before it collapsed and the Vikings line took command.