The Vikings resurgence this season cannot have any one name put on it as so many have contributed. However, there are a few key players that have made a special impact on this team. Two of them were rewarded with First Team All-Pro spots in Pro Football Focus’ “through Week 12” team. They, of course, are Eric Kendricks and Justin Jefferson.
We all have heard the Jefferson storylines by now. Any time you can put a rookie’s statline next to that of Randy Moss’, you know there is something special happening there. Week 12 was no different.
With Adam Thielen sitting out on the COVID Reserve, the Vikings needed someone to step up in the passing game against Carolina. While Bisi Johnson caught as many passes, the number one receiver was certainly Jefferson, who reeled in two touchdown passes during the comeback win. His 918 receiving yards so far this season rank him eighth in the league, but the most impressive stat may be that according to PFF, his yards per route rank second only to Davante Adams at 2.91. Adams currently sits atop the NFL at 2.96.
Kendricks also had himself yet another great week, adding onto an incredible season for the linebacker. He recorded 12 total tackles in the game, including two for loss. Not only that, but it is getting to the point where if Kendricks doesn’t get an interception, it’s a bad game. He picked off his third pass in the last four games. It stopped a Carolina red zone drive to boot.
PFF seems to be rewarding Kendricks for his superb tackling and ability to drop back in coverage. He currently ranks fifth in the league with 69 solo tackles. He also has the top coverage grade among linebackers, grading an outstanding 90.7 in PFF’s system.
Another player got an honorable mention by making PFF’s second team All-Pro. That player is running back Dalvin Cook. It’s certainly arguable that he deserves the first team spot, but PFF went with Derrick Henry.
Both are having absolutely phenomenal seasons, and they are the only two backs to have already eclipsed the 1000-yard mark. Cook has recorded 1130 yards, and a league-leading 13 rushing touchdowns. Henry on the other hand, tops Cook in yardage with 1257 rushing yards, but he sits just below Cook in scores with 12 rushing touchdowns.
The biggest argument for Cook here is that he has recorded more scrimmage yards and touchdowns than Henry while also missing a game. However, while both the Minnesota and Tennessee fan bases are going to pull for their own guy, I think everyone can agree that these two have been by far the best backs in the league.