Poll Of The Week

Week 17 Player Of The Game: Vote Now!

A 20-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers earned the Minnesota Vikings their first division championship since 2009 and this season has been one heck of a ride. We’ll have plenty more on the victory over Green Bay, the regular season as a whole, and the attempted redemption coming up against Seattle.

For now, however, I want to take a second to a minute to wrap ourselves up in VT‘s own time honored tradition of handing out a game ball from you, the readers.

This heralded (by me) award was given to Harrison Smith last week.  Teddy Bridgewater and Stefon Diggs are tied for a team lead with three game balls each this season, but neither is likely to break that tie via your votes this week. A list of the weekly outcomes can always be found on our Schedule Page.

Moving onto this week’s nominees…


Who said Norv Turner appears unwilling to manufacture touches for a speedy playmaking wide receiver relegated to special teams contributions and a bottom spot on the wide out depth chart? Adam Thielen’s light was a lot brighter than Cordarrelle Patterson’s in Week 17 and the “all he does is make plays” narrative continues to follow him long after many thought he would be cut in the preseason.

Thielen tied Adrian Peterson as the teams leading rusher with 67 yards each, but did so on just two carries, one of which was an opening drive faked punt that Thielen was able to turn into 41 yards. Coaches deserve plenty of credit for that play, but Thielen’s contribution put the Vikings up by three points instead of punting the ball away with none. Thielen also caught his lone target for a 16 yard gain before having to leave the game with injury.


If there were two highlights of the first half, and one of them was Thielen’s 41 yard dash on fourth down, then the other was guard Mike Harris bulldozing Clay Matthews in such an embarrassing way that Matthews opted to retaliate by cheap-shotting Harris from behind… and drawing a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Harris was once again the Vikings most dependable offensive lineman in a game that needed the unit to at least not completely fold in prime time.


No Linval? No problem.

Defensive tackle Tom Johnson was constantly pestering Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night, consistently applying pressure and seldom losing containment… playing a hustle-and-chase game all evening long that was a major difference in the outcome this time around.

Johnson was credited with three tackles, three hits on the quarterback, and half of a sack. He also toughened up against the run after a worrisome first drive, limiting the Packers to a team average of 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

Johnson has easily been one of Rick Spielman’s best free agent signings of the last few years.


In what was easily a top five performance of the defensive end’s career, Everson Griffen made an enormous impact through his pass rush. It was so significant, in fact, I am really hoping the confidence boost carries over into next week when Griffen gets another crack at the slippery moves of Russell Wilson.

Griffen totaled six tackles, three for a loss, four hits on Rogers, and two crucial sacks. One of those sacks came when Griffen hit the arm of Rodgers just in time for the ball to come out of his hand and be ruled a fumble, which Captain Munnerlyn scooped up for the defensive touchdown.

Griffen has emerged as a leader on this team as evidenced by how quickly Vikings fans got let memories of Jared Allen fade. Next up, Griffen needs to face off against a much tougher matchup where he could potentially be needed to make an even larger impact.



The rookie middle linebacker was another one that had me worried on the first Packers series, but put together one of his best games of the season when all was said and done. Kendricks was the sideline-to-sideline presence the Vikings have lacked for a long, long time.

He was second on the team with nine tackles, one of which was for a loss, and got a hit on Rodgers on one occasion. The first drive aside, Kendricks was a huge reason that the Vikings were able to limit the Packers rushing capabilities and keep Rodgers in containment.

Even more importantly, as pointed out by NBC’s broadcast crew, Kendricks successfully took away a great deal of underneath routes that are a staple of Green Bay’s offense.


There was an interesting nugget in the broadcast notes about Rhodes losing some confidence earlier in this season, but that he was starting to regain some of that swagger. I’m not sure how much stock to put into those comments, but they certainly fit the narrative of Rhodes’ season.

Rhodes seemed plenty confident on Sunday night, however, where he and the other Vikings corners were clearly ordered to play it physical with Green Bay’s lackluster group of receivers. Terence Newman had a tough time with that assignment, especially with James Jones, but Rhodes did quite well for himself against a quarterback that is supposed to be one of the best the NFL has ever seen.

Rhodes tagged in for three tackles and an end zone interception that headed off a late collapse that was looking inevitable up until that point.

OTHER: Anthony Barr? Adrian Peterson? Blair Walsh? If I missed the guy you think is most deserving of the award this week then please do not hesitate to click “other” and let me hear about it in the comments section below.




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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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  1. Gotta go with Zach Line this week, Adam. Zach had zero carries for zero yards. Line also did not have one single pass thrown his way. In spite of these facts, the Vikings won anyway.

    A great part of the Vikings success this season has been Adrian Peterson running the ball and Bridgewater passing the ball (sometimes left handed!) Neither of these players would have achieved this success with out the blood, sweat and opponents tears from the one, the only, the incomprehensible Zach Line.

  2. This has to be the hardest choice all year. I had to go with Griffen. That sack and forced fumble for a TD was the difference in the game

  3. Griffen gets the nod from me but I think an argument could be made that all four starters and Hunter should all get some props for their 4th quarter effort. They were on the field for darn near the whole thing and still managed to get some pressure despite being gassed.

  4. I had to go Thelin. Hes the most underrated player on this team and before he was inured was having one helluva game. Hes a modern day rudy.

  5. how we won that game with TB throwing for 99 yards and AD running for 67 yards was really something special. great, tough effort by our team. i’d give the POTG to the whole defense if i could. my head tells me griffen should get it, but i’m going with the X-man. his INT was big and his overall play was excellent

  6. Griffen, the 2nd sack he had. He had to have been gassed, the whole defense was. Found enough juice to run down Rodgers and trip him up. Great play.

  7. Picked Everson, but hard to pick against Tom Johnson. Those guys were gassed at the end, but kept giving it everything they had.

  8. With Griffen you expect it, with Rhodes you’d hope it, but he’s sneaky and he’s shifty, he’s all together- POTG. Count me part of the Adams’ Family

  9. A play in the favor of Rhodes was the tackle he made on the second to last play of the game. Tackling that receiver in bounds after playing off a block limited GB to the one final Hail Mary, which I don’t believe they even got off in time. If the receiver gets out of bounds, the Packers have a stopped clock with about 9 seconds left.

    Meanwhile, a question for Adam… Did CDarrel Patterson’s actions move him any further down the future list of the Vikings? A lot of people very upset by his conduct after his fumble, and none more upset than me. Would like to hear your thoughts, maybe a post, on what his future appears to be and what those actions say about him as a player / teammate.

    1. I couldn’t agree more coach.Really ticked me off watching him laughing and fooling around on the sideline after that fumble.I can’t imagine Zimmer would be thrilled about it.
      As far as I am concerned the sooner we get rid of Patterson the better.I think Rick will try and trade him in the off season and get what he can (maybe a 4th rounder??).If they cut him we’d be on the hook for a bit over $900,000 dead cap.

  10. I, as an unpaid fan was more bothered by Patterson’s gaffe more than he was and I imagine millions more watching we’re also appalled. You can’t win with a man child that doesn’t take his work seriously. Please stop drafting recvrs in the first round based on speed and potential( see troy Williamson and before that Buster Rymes)