Poll Of The Week

Player of the Game: Finding Reasons to be Thankful

Thanksgiving dinner came and went in an instant. The fridge is empty, the leftovers are gone, and suddenly, the Christmas rush is upon us. Life moves quickly, and even more so for the Minnesota Vikings.

Last week’s crushing loss to the Detroit Lions is all but a memory as the Vikings prepare for another pivotal NFC showdown. This time, they’ll host the league’s best team in the Dallas Cowboys. Thursday night’s game marks the dawn of December, and more importantly, a chance for the Vikings to close the door on last month’s failures.

As we reflect, we have an opportunity to look back and find reasons to be thankful. Even though the Vikings feel even further behind the Lions, a few names stood above the rest as impact players. But first, a look back at previous Players of the Week:

WEEK ONE: Eric Kendricks

WEEK TWO: Sam Bradford

WEEK THREE: Everson Griffen

WEEK FOUR: Xavier Rhodes

WEEK FIVE: Adam Thielen

WEEK SEVEN: Cordarrelle Patterson

WEEK EIGHT: Jeff Locke

WEEK NINE: Chad Greenway

WEEK TEN: Stefon Diggs

WEEK ELEVEN: Xavier Rhodes

Who are you picking this week?

Sam Bradford

Yes, he threw THAT late interception, but Bradford’s carried an anemic offense for weeks. Much will be made of his all-time low yards-per-attempt number in Detroit, but Bradford is operating in a scheme that places a premium on the passing game. The Vikings cannot run the ball, meaning Bradford’s short throws and intermediate completions are, in a way, replacements for Jerick McKinnon’s three or four-yard carries.

Minnesota didn’t challenge the Lions through the air, but any quarterback who completes 83 percent of his passes deserves some recognition.

Jeff Locke

Locke’s having the best season of his young career, and his strong play continued in Minnesota’s latest loss. He followed up his 72-yard punt against the Cardinals with a 57-yarder in Detroit, bringing his season average to 44.5 yards per punt. That’s the highest average of Locke’s career and a big reason why the Vikings rank second in opponents’ average starting field position.

Anthony Barr

As Sam noted last week, Barr looked like the Barr of old in Detroit. He was quick to react, decisive against the run, and active as a pass defender. Mike Zimmer’s defense needs Barr to make an impact each week, and on Thursday, he showed signs of returning to his elite, 2015 form. Barr’s lone sack of the day was a major highlight for a player who’s disappeared from the team’s weekly highlight reels.


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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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4 Comments

  1. gotta go with Zach Line here Austin.

    Zach played way above average vs the Lions. One carry for TWO yards. That’s doubling his usual rushing yardage. Something you rarely see from anyone. Did Peterson ever rush for four hundred yards after an epic 200 yard game? No. Never. Yet here we have Zach Line obliterating his seasonal rushing average.

    There was another Zach on the field at this game. Detroit’s very own Zach Zenner who had one rush for 0 yards, If nothing else, we had the best Zach playing in this game.

    And finally, as the Vikings offense trotted off the field at the end of the third quarter, who was there on the sideline giving out high fives like they were free or something, none other than Zach Line. The inspired Vikings offense managed two drives in the fourth quarter, one ending in a punt, the other in an interception

    One day, I envision Zach Line’s name in the ring of honor at US Bank Stadium. And by ring of honor, I’m talking about his name etched on a urinal cake in the men’s restroom.

  2. I’m done with Bradford. That’s 3 straight games with a horrible turnover at the worst possible time.

    The Defense cant do everything, and they failed to hold Det. At their own 2, but this loss is all on Bradford.

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