Player of the Game: Losses Getting Old (Vote Now!)
Week Nine Highlights Will Feature The Likes Of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Everson Griffen and Chad Greenway.
The Minnesota Vikings offense, particularly the offensive line, looked improved with Pat Shurmur calling the plays instead of Norv Turner. Still, they could not get the job done when they most needed to, and the Vikings lost in overtime to the Detroit Lions by a margin of 22-16.
The offense wasn’t entirely to blame, with Blair Walsh costing them points and the defense struggling to maintain their dominant ways, and this three game slide is getting old quick. Still, the Vikings remain in first place (barely) of the NFC North and there is still a half of a season left to get things figured out.
Now, in our third straight week, we face the less-fun task of anointing a “Player of the Game” via your voting in the poll at the bottom.
It is interesting to note that after seven games played, you all have yet to elect the same player twice for this weekly award. We’ll see Here are the winners so far in 2016:
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
Here are this week’s nominees:
Bradford didn’t light up the town with his performance on Sunday, but he did return to mistake-free football in the sense that he didn’t turn the ball over. He completed 31 of his 40 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. He posted a 103.4 quarterback rating, skillfully avoided the pass rush in taking only two sacks, and showed some grit later in the game. It wasn’t an MVP-style performance, but it was good enough to earn a “sure, why not” nomination for this award following the first loss at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It is such a shame that the offense can’t seem to fire on all cylinders, because if they could then Stefon Diggs could potentially be setting off some serious fireworks this season. His 13 catches 80 yards led the team on both counts, and he seemingly looked more in tune with Bradford this week, as he caught all but one of his targets in the adjusted scheme.
Thielen had one of my favorite catches of the year this week, so he was going to get the nomination regardless of what his final stat line looked like. He’s playing the receiver position with such a toughness that I’ve gone from wondering why he doesn’t play more to wondering why he isn’t permanently playing as Charles Johnson’s replacement on every down. Thielen caught 4 of his 6 targets for 68 yards.
If the words “high motor” have ever applied to a player, that player is Everson Griffen. He hasn’t been the sack master many expected him to be this season, but it hasn’t been for a lack of effort. Effort being an attribute Griffen shows so often throughout these miserable games. Griffen ended up tied for a team-leading seven tackles, two quarterback hits, a sack, and two tackles for a loss.
With Eric Kendricks sidelined with an injury, Chad Greenway seeing more playing time worried many Vikings fans. His lack of speed showed on a couple of occasions, but Greenway played some of the best football of his last few seasons this game, particularly early on. He ended up with six tackles and the defense’s lone turnover on an early interception.
An offensive lineman? Flash? Trae Waynes or Linval Joseph? As always, I don’t consider my nominations anything other than a jump start of the voting process and you are always welcomed to vote “OTHER” and specify your intent down in the comments section.