Last week, despite fumbling the game-winning drive away, it was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater that stole this weekly award via your votes. He’s got a great chance at doing it again this week, under happier circumstances, which would give him his third win of the year here at VT.
There is no doubt that Mike Zimmer has improved greatly in an enormously important section of the standings – division record – and the team is still in a position to win the NFC North with just two weeks of football left.
Sunday’s convincing 38-17 victory against Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears is significant in that Minnesota has swept two of their NFC North opponents in 2015. Only the Packers, a team Zimmer has yet to beat as Head Coach, remain on the schedule and that final regular season is still a potential matchup that determines the division championship.
A number of Vikings players stood out on Sunday, and there is plenty of reason to celebrate them, and what better way than by nominating them for this heralded (by me) award? Your Week Fifteen nominations are…
Teddy “game manager” Bridgewater was aided plenty on his way to his best performance of his career, most notably by yards gained after the catch, but there is no denying that we was playing some lights out football versus Chicago. He ended the day with an 85% completion rate, 231 yards, and four passing touchdowns. He added 17 yards and another score on four rushing attempts.
On third downs, Bridgewater was playing as good as anyone has in the NFL all season long. He completed eight of his nine third down attempts for 119 yards and three touchdowns. His 12 yard touchdown run also came on third down.
He turned the ball over zero times, took only one sack, and closed the day out with an incredible 154.4 quarterback rating. The performance was hopefully a glimpse of what life as a Vikings fan will feel like over the next decade or so.
I’m not willing to say McKinnon was marvelous as a replacement for Adrian Peterson after Peterson left the game with an angle injury, as McKinnon only rushed for 10 yards on seven carries, but he proved to be a dangerous pass catching option out of the backfield.
McKinnon led the team in both catches (4) and receiving yards (76) proving that he can add a dimension to this offense when he’s on the field.
It was great to see a bump in production, after a quiet couple of weeks, from the rookie receiver Stefon Diggs. He only caught three passes on the day, for 55 yards in total, but two of them went for touchdowns and it is incredibly difficult to decide which of those scores deserves more “style points.” Diggs tacked on 22 yards on a kick return, as well.
The veteran defensive end has been stringing together a nice season for himself and today was another example of what he can still offer this Mike Zimmer defense. Robison ended the day with two tackles, a sack in which he stripped Cutler of the ball and recovered the ball himself. The box score doesn’t accurately represent how disruptive he was on a mostly-consistent basis Sunday afternoon.
Speaking of disruptive, Floyd turned in another solid performance from the nose tackle position, playing out of position with Linval Joseph sidelined with injury issues. Floyd ended the day with three tackles, half a sack, and a beautifully batted ball at the line of scrimmage. Like Robison, Floyd was harassing Cutler all day long, and was a big reason the team was able to generate five sacks on the day.
The young “project player” is turning out to be a dependable option and very valuable depth at the defensive end position. Hunter and his gigantic arms flashed, once again, at multiple points throughout Sunday’s game. He led the defensive line with five tackles, a sack and a half, did a nice job keeping containment on Cutler who only gained one rushing yard throughout the entire 60 minutes of the game.
How great is it to see Chad Greenway playing some good football this year? The guy looks like he’s having fun out there and he is chipping in some valuable contributions on a weekly basis. Greenway ended Sunday’s game with five tackles, one for a loss, and a shirt-sleeve sack of Cutler. Oh, and don’t forget, use #GreenwayWPMOYChallenge on social media this month to cast your vote for Greenway as 2015’s Man of the Year winner, he deserves it.
As always, feel free to chime in via the comments section if you feel like I have your Player of the Game.