Week Eight Player Of The Game: Cast Your Vote!
The Vikings relied on a number of big plays, and big breaks, to secure their third divisional win in Chicago on Sunday. Sitting at 5-2, only one game behind the Green Bay Packers, this team continues to show and improved version of their 2014 selves as they head into a very challenging stretch of their 2015 season.
Last week, it was Stefon Diggs squeaking past Teddy Bridgewater to secure his second consecutive win of this heralded (by me) award. Diggs is the first Viking to win this award twice this season and it seems safe to say he’ll be in the running again this week.
The previous winners of this award for 2015 are as follows:
And this week’s nominee’s are…
The Chicago Bears took the exact opposite approach than the Detroit Lions in the previous week when it came to defending Norv Turner’s offensive attack. Instead of selling out to stop Peterson, the Bears did everything within their power to clog Bridgewater’s passing lanes and Peterson was able to capitalize on the opportunity for another 100 yard performance. Peterson’s 103 yards came on twenty attempts, a solid average of 5.2 yards per carry, and went a long ways towards keeping the chains moving and not falling behind in the field position battle. Peterson also caught both of his passing targets for six yards.
The magic between Bridgewater and Diggs appears to be real, and the hocus pocus showed up late in Sunday’s victory, but just in time. Diggs was the most targeted (12) Viking against the Bears and was able to haul in six passes for 95 yards. Of those catches, none were more important than the 40 yard catch and run that finished in the end zone and tied the game late. The kid is clearly someone defenses will need to game plan for as the season wears on.
I’m not sure the Vikings win this game without a noticeably improved effort from the offensive line. I’m also not convinced they win too many more if that improvement doesn’t continue. It only makes sense to single out the best lineman of the five after the win, in that case, and Harris was clearly the best of the five once again. In case you don’t trust my “eye test” assessment, it is worth noting that Pro Football Focus concurs.
How great has Joseph been this year? Seriously, I’m asking you, because I’m not sure how to describe it. Chicago’s running backs combined for only 87 yards on 22 attempts and Joseph was a constant force, yet again, in the middle of the D-line. He has been credited with three tackles (the coaching staff credited him with seven) and three quarterback hurries. He had one hit on the passer and also a tackle for a loss.
In the first half, the Minnesota offense couldn’t get things going (other than some decent Peterson runs), and it was looking clear that either the defense or special teams were going to have to do a little extra to keep the game close. That spark came in the form of a 65 yard punt return that Sherels took into the endzone. Sherels ended up returning three punts for a 77 yard totat and had one tackle to his name for the day.
If confidence breeds consistency, then I hope the monkey is finally off of Walsh’s back once and for all! Walsh hit both extra points and three field goals in Sunday’s win. He hit two crucial field goals from beyond 40 yards out and was money on the game winner as time expired. Walsh arguably deserves as much credit as anybody for getting the Vikings their fifth victory of the season.
OTHER: As always, feel free to hit the “OTHER” button in the poll and let me know your vote in the comments section. I’ve done my best to narrow things down to the top choices here, but I also know there are some other naes deserving of some recognition. Teddy Bridgewater, Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr, and Harrison Smith are a few that jump to mind as honorable mentions.