Poll Of The Week

The Final Player Of The Game Award: Vote Now!

With the dust frost finally settling on the latest heartbreaking loss, Vikings fans are left with little else to do other than nickname their latest addition to the lore, and reflect back on the season that was. Some might even speculate on what could have been.

We’re going to have plenty of time for reflecting on the season as a whole, but right now we are narrowing our gaze to the playoff loss at TCF Bank Stadium at the hands of the defending NFC Champs.

As you can probably expect, given the complete void of touchdowns produced by the Vikings, this final batch of nominees is a tad defense-heavy. This is the final time, until September, that you’ll use your collective votes to bestow this heralded (by me) award upon one lucky Minnesota Viking.

Before we get too far along, I want to take a look back at the season schedule, with the weekly award winners listed on the right.

Week
Date
Opponent
Result
Player of the Game
1 SEP 14 at 49ers  L 20-3  Anthony Barr
2 SEP 20 Lions  W 26-16  Adrian Peterson
3 SEP 27 Chargers  W 31-14  Harrison Smith
4 OCT 4 at Broncos  L 23-20  Linval Joseph
5 Bye Week
6 OCT 18 Chiefs  W 16-10  Stefon Diggs
7 OCT 25 at Lions  W 28-19  Stefon Diggs
8 NOV 1 at Bears  W 23-20  Stefon Diggs
9 NOV 8 Rams  W 21 -18  Linval Joseph
10 NOV 15 at Raiders  W 30 -14  Terence Newman
11 NOV 22 Packers  L 30-13  Teddy Bridgewater
12 NOV 29 at Falcons  W 20-10  Anthony Barr
13 DEC 6 Seahawks  L 38-7  Nobody
14 DEC 10 at Cardinals  L 23-20  Teddy Bridgewater
15 DEC 20 Bears  W 38-17  Teddy Bridgewater
16 DEC 27 Giants  W 49-17  Harrison Smith
17 JAN 3 at Packers  W 20-13  Everson Griffen

The Nominees From Wild Card Weekend

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER

Teddy Bridgewater’s “game manager” skills were on full display Sunday, but he was unable to do much else other than efficiently and safely take what a very dominant defense was giving. He completed 70% of his 24 attempts for 146 yards and zero turnovers. The numbers will not blow anyone away by any stretch of the imagination, but the box score doesn’t tell the full tale of Bridgewater’s confidence and poise under extreme pressure behind an offensive line that did the offense few favors all afternoon.

LINVAL JOSEPH

Getting the big man back in the middle has helped the Vikings control opposing running backs in back-to-back weeks, which was step one in (mostly) containing mobile quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. Joseph has arguably been the best defensive tackle in the NFL this year, when healthy, and Christine Michael’s 3.3 yard average should not be underestimated as an easy task. Joseph registered three tackles on the day.

EVERSON GRIFFEN

What I saw out of Griffen on Sunday gave me an enormous amount of faith for what the future holds. I’ve previously noted how I thought facing mobile quarterbacks were an Achilles heal for this Vikings squad and while a slippery Russell Wilson still made a big play when it mattered, Griffen’s maturation into a smart player was incredibly visible on Sunday. He was tasked with arguably more responsibility than any other player against Seattle, having to play well against the read option on a great many occasions, and was only caught out of position in a couple of instances. His discipline was huge for this defense as Wilson was pressured, the run was largely bottled up, and the scrambling quarterback was contained. Griffen ended the day with six tackles, one for a loss, a sack, and four hits on the quarterback.

SHARRIF FLOYD

Speaking of amazing performances along the defensive line, Floyd was as on point as anyone else. He contributed plenty of havoc of his own, in both the run and pass game, and could easily give his fellow lineman a run for their money in this voting. He ended up registering three tackles, two for a loss, and a sack.

ERIC KENDRICKS

How about this rookie class and how all of them contributed in a playoff game? The experience should help, for sure, but I’m not even sure Eric Kendricks needs it. The guy was flying all around the field making plays like a savvy vet, not like a rookie that didn’t start the season atop the depth chart. Kendricks led the team with eight tackles and also defended two passes on the day. This kid looks like the real deal and already has me excited for next season.

XAVIER RHODES

The Seahawks didn’t have a receiver with more than 42 yards on Sunday and that is a direct reflection of how well the Vikings secondary played, led by Xavier Rhodes. Not only did Rhodes add another shutdown performance to his resume, but he showed impressive strength on a couple of occasions and certainly didn’t shy away from making a tackle when one was needed out of him. Rhodes had four tackles and two pass deflections to his name in this one.

 

BLAIR WALSH

I debated whether or not to include Walsh in this, but decided to go ahead and do it. If you don’t like it then, by all means, move along and cast your vote for someone else. Through 59 minutes and 33 seconds of Sunday’s game, however, Walsh was arguably the best choice for the game’s MVP honors and it wasn’t just for his three field goals (22, 43, 47 yards out). In a close game, a cold game, it seemed likely that special teams would end up making a huge difference (and boy did it) in the outcome. For the Seahawks, the player most likely to make that difference was certainly return demon Tyler Lockett who Walsh was able to basically erase as a factor on his four kickoffs. Despite the cold working against him, Walsh was successfully able to create touchbacks on three of those four attempts, and Lockett only gained 12 total kick return yards through the entire contest. In the end, however, Walsh is the clear goat of this one for what happened with 27 seconds left in the game… and we’d all be little weird if we also gave him the MVP honors, wouldn’t we?

OTHER

Of course, there were others worth mentioning that didn’t make my cut. If I missed the guy you think deserves the Player of the Game award then be sure to click “OTHER” and cast your vote in the comments section.

 

 

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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11 Comments

  1. Well, I’m sitting here in Maui, waiting for a flight to Molokai. Which makes this latest crushing defeat a tiny bit easier to take. Having seen EVERY crushing defeat since the Vikings first took the field in 1961, it still was guy-wrenching loss. But hey! We’ll get ’em next year. Malala.

  2. Are you kidding me? Walsh is leading? I don’t care if he was 15/15 before he missed that last one.

    When you mess up that badly you don’t deserve anything. Missing a 27 yard field goal is unacceptable.

    I voted other for Harrison Smith. Hes everywhere

    1. It was a terrible hold and he accounted for all of our points. He still should have made it but it’s hard to do when the laces are facing you and the ball is leaning forward

      1. A professional kicker should make a 27 yard FG blindfolded, with laces all the way around the ball, wearing crocs, while listening to Justin Beiber.

  3. I’m voting Griffen based 100% on that fake spin move he used to burn Okung and surprise sack Russell. That was pretty.

  4. I went with Griffen but I think it goes for all the guys on defense. Please Adam take Walsh off the list.

  5. I went with Kendricks. Kid seemed to be all over the field. I feel for him, and don’t think he should be replaced.
    I’m glad we are standing by Blair. I just can’t believe he missed…can’t believe the whole season came down to a 27 yarder, only to watch that.
    Very surprised he is winning the vote.
    I think he can overcome it. I really do. I am thinking though, if this situation comes up again…say, next year. Not sure I could watch.

  6. Gotta go with Zach Line this week, Adam. The ultimate underdog on a team that no one, except for hard Viking fans, gave a cold day chance in hell to win this game. Line is the epitome player of this team. NFC North champions. Zach played hard right up to Zimmer’s press conference.

    Zach Line literally drove the team bus this season. If he doesn’t win player of the game, he should be a top contender for team MVP, not to mention all pro and the Walter Payton Man Of The Year.

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