The Thursday Night game threw us for a bit of a loop here at VT, as we’re creatures of habit and try to adhere to a schedule of weekly programming during the season. However, better late than never and we we refuse to miss a week where one of these Vikings players who worked so hard isn’t gifted the highly sought after Vikings Territory Player of the Game award.
There were a lot of new faces on the field Thursday night against the Cardinals. In fact, the Vikings started six rookies in Arizona – the most in Vikings history. They weren’t perfect, but the team showed a ton of fight and came just within reach of achieving a major upset against a Superbowl contender during prime time.
Though the Vikings didn’t come away with a win, there were quite a few impressive performances. Before we jump in to this week’s nominees, let’s recap our previous 13 awards this season.
WEEK THIRTEEN: Nobody (Yeah… nobody. For the first time ever here at VT, we award the Player of the Game Award for Week Thirteen to nobody. It was that bad… Cordarrelle Patterson was one vote behind “Nobody” in the voting and almost managed to win. )
Thankfully, “nobody” isn’t an option this week.
Bridgewater may have had his best game of the year against one of the best secondaries in the NFL. The offensive line performed relatively well and Norv Turner played to his personnel’s strengths for most of the game – allowing Bridgewater to operate out of the shotgun on short drops with quick routes from his receivers. He connected with 11 different receivers for more yards (335) than any other quarterback this week (not including the Monday night game) and no interceptions. At times, Bridgewater was able to move the ball down the field with ease and is certainly worthy of consideration this week.
Though Griffen was only able to get to Carson Palmer once for a sack, he seemed to be in his face throughout the game. Palmer was under pressure throughout the game and forced on numerous occasions to get rid of the ball before he wanted to. Griffen was PFF’s highest rated Vikings from Thursday night (+4.9).
Filling in for the depleted Vikings safeties, Anthony Harris was very impressive in his first ever NFL start. Harris was called up earlier in the week from the practice squad to help out with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. He had seven tackles, one assist and came very close to picking off Carson Palmer.
The freak athlete Danielle Hunter has been impressive in a rotational role in his rookie season. More promising is that his performance seems to improve with each passing week. Hunter was also responsible for a good amount of the pressure Palmer faced all night and finally got to the veteran quarterback for a sack in the second quarter (his third of the year).
After a very slow start to the season, Kyle Rudolph has made himself very useful over the last few games. With six receptions for 67 yards, Rudolph came through multiple times and helped convert on third downs when it mattered. Though he didn’t have any touchdowns, he was critical to the success of the Vikings pass offense.