Vikings Territory has been electing a player of the game, win or loss, for every game we’ve had this year. I liked the idea, so figured we could try it out here and see how it goes. Luckily, we’re starting it out after a big win, so it should make our first go at it more fun.
There were a lot of players worthy of consideration for this week. Teddy had his best statistical performance yet, the defense stood strong thanks to guys like Griffen, Robinson and Rhodes, and special teams stood out BIG thanks to Griffen, Brinkley and Thielen. We need to look at their individual performances and choose which one was the most deserving of this week’s game ball.
Teddy Bridgewater: Teddy came out and started strong. He commanded the first drive of his offense with a short field thanks to a poor punt by Carolina. He completed all of his passes including a floater in to a wide open Rudolph for a TD. Teddy showed some good improvement with his deep ball today too, hitting Jarius Wright in stride on a go route along the left sideline, and placing it well along the right sideline on another attempt that was just defended well enough for a green Charlie Johnson to be unable to pull in the completion. He finished the day 15/21 for 131 yards and 2-TDs, adding up to a rating of 120.7.
Greg Jennings: Greg was the next closest thing to a standout player on offense. He caught 5 of his 6 targets for a respectable 45-yards. He also was able to dance around some defenders after a catch late in the 2nd-quarter to pound in the team’s final TD with just a few seconds remaining on the clock.
Adam Thielen: Thielen – AKA the Mankato Flash – scored his first ever NFL touchdown today at the end of the Panthers’ 2nd offensive drive, where he bolted up the middle on an attempted punt, blocked the kick, kept it trapped inside his gut as he went to the ground, and then jumped up off the ground with ball and darted into the endzone for the team’s first blocked punt-TD since 1985! Even though this is the only play in the game that he factored in, (okay, he was credited with 2 tackles, but I didn’t notice him any other time) it meant A LOT and was a big factor in setting the tone of the game early.
Everson Griffen: Griffen was the second player in today’s game to return a blocked punt for a TD. He was in the right place at the right time when the second block occurred, and he used his amazing instincts and speed to pick the ball up and run it in for a score. He also finished the day with 2 sacks, and 5 tackles.
Jasper Brinkley: Yes, Jasper deserves some consideration this week too. If it weren’t for him, Everson would have never had a chance for his TD. Brinkley was the man who broke through to block the second punt. He was also #3 on the team in tackles, totaling 7.
Xavier Rhodes: Rhodes didn’t log any tackles on the day, but still stood out in large part due to his great coverage of Carolina’s #1 WR. He bottled up Kelvin Benjamin for only 5-catches on 12-targets, and was able to knock down 3 passes, while almost coming up with an interception on one of them.
Josh Robinson: As a player who was considered a liability in the Nickel under Frazier’s cover-2 defense, Robinson has been much improved this year and had another good game today. He did get beat deep on the 4th down conversion that resulted in a TD, but he was able to grab the team’s only interception late in the 4th quarter to seal the victory, and he logged 1 tackle on the day as well.
So who’s your vote for today’s player of the game? Let us know with your vote!