5 Candidates — Vikings Midseason MVP Award

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The Minnesota Vikings own a 5-4 record entering Week 10, residing in the NFC’s seventh playoff spot and 1.5 games out of first place in the NFC North.

5 Candidates — Vikings Midseason MVP Award

A rollercoaster indeed, the season has bent corners, reversed, and fully accelerated. So, you know, Vikings football.

Along the way, the club has some midseason MVP candidates. Of course, the award is not real, but if it were, these would be the honorees. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = the midseason MVP).

5. Jordan Addison | WR

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Through the first 10 games of his NFL career, Randy Moss notched 7 receiving touchdowns.

Through the first 10 games of his NFL career, Jordan Addison has banked 7 receiving touchdowns.

Addison has remained consistent all year, often a struggle for a rookie. His production after Justin Jefferson was lost to injury is invaluable, and the USC alumnus earns a spot on the list accordingly. Addison has arrived as the team’s WR2 and can efficiently handle WR1 duties in a pinch, as evidenced by the last four games.

Pairing the youngster with Jefferson for the next four-plus years is incredibly encouraging.

4. Camryn Bynum | S

Vikings Midseason MVP
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Bynum is the NFL’s seventh-best safety, according to Pro Football Focus (85.1). The man has logged 80 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 tackles for loss, on pace for a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign.

And he’s doing so with relatively low expectations attached to his name heading into the season. Vikings fans wanted to see Lewis Cine bust out into stardom, but Bynum kept that young defender on the bench.

Bynum has anchored the back half of Minnesota’s defense, and the Vikings are absolutely set at safety for the long haul — even when Harrison Smith walks away.

3. Justin Jefferson | WR

Only Week 6
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Jefferson is still the Vikings foremost identity; don’t get it twisted. Because folks know he’ll return before too long, there is hope the season can remain relevant if the playoffs are in the plans. Had Jefferson been lost for all of 2023, the absolute ceiling for Minnesota might be a Wildcard berth.

Until the hamstring ailment, Jefferson was on a breakneck pace for receiving yards and was the Vikings offense. Without him, head coach Kevin O’Connell has been creative for solutions. So, when Jefferson returns, Minnesota can now do both — use Jefferson as the bellcow WR1 but know how to intermix the aforementioned Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and others.

2. Kirk Cousins | QB

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Just when Cousins began nibbling at MVP chatter, he tore his Achilles. Such rotten luck.

The man played like a fiend through 7.5 games, injured at Green Bay about two weeks ago. With the possible exception of the 2021 season, Cousins was playing his best football to date at the ripe old age of 35.

Minnesota wasn’t netting any rushing touchdowns while Cousins was the QB1, so paydirts off his arm were the only solace for scoring. The Vikings didn’t seem to miss a beat without Cousins last weekend — which is good news — but his statistical production until the injury was top-tier.

He won’t stay a Vikings MVP candidate, but he was precisely that for eight games.

1. Danielle Hunter | OLB

Unveils Latest Danielle Hunter
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Hunter ranks first in the business via sacks and tackles for loss, and although Pro Football Focus doesn’t much appreciate him — he’s considered the NFL’s 37th-best EDGE rusher per PFF — he’s the straw that stirs the drink on defense.

The Vikings lost Marcus Davenport to injured reserve, and without Hunter, the defense feels like it could collapse. He stops the run as effectively as he terrorizes quarterbacks, a skillset not owned by all elite pass rushers.

Because of consistency, durability, and performance, Hunter is the Vikings midseason MVP.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.