Another week, another victory for the Minnesota Vikings, as they took down the New York Football Giants on Monday Night Football by a score of 24-10. There were a lot of great performances on the Minnesota side on Monday night, but we can only award one Game Ball, so let's get to our nominees. As usual, I'm going to be putting forward four nominees, and if there's someone that you feel I missed, they can be brought up in the comments section.
Jerick McKinnon, RB - After a few weeks of the Vikings' running game being largely stagnant, they put together a pretty solid performance on Monday night, and McKinnon led the way. He carried the ball 18 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, and for the most part helped to keep the Giants' defense from teeing off on Sam Bradford. He gave the Vikings' running game a spark that, quite frankly, it hasn't had in a while. McKinnon can certainly handle being an every down back, and Monday night gave us a glimpse into that.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/KR/punt gunner - Where the heck did this come from? Patterson had five receptions on Monday night, which is one more than he had in his previous nineteen games. . .combined. Not only that, but he continues to impress as a special teams coverage guy, as his downfield speed clearly distracted Giants' return man Dwayne Harris and caused the muffed punt that led to Minnesota's first score. Perhaps the light has finally gone on for Patterson and he can salvage something for himself in Minnesota for the long term after all.
Xavier Rhodes, CB - The effort from the defensive secondary last night wasn't just Xavier Rhodes, but he certainly played a huge role. He spent most of his evening matched up against the giant man-baby that is Odell Beckham, Jr., and held him to the worst game of his career with just 23 receiving yards. (As Eric pointed out on Twitter, if you count the 15-yard penalty Beckham got for unsportsmanlike conduct, he wound up with a net of 8 yards.) Rhodes missed the first two games of the season, but his presence on the back end of the defense makes a very good group even better.
Vikings' offensive line - I don't generally nominate entire position groups, but after a few games where they looked pretty bad, the Minnesota Moving Company really stepped up its collective game on Monday night. Not only did Sam Bradford not absorb a sack against the Giants, I don't think he got hit very many times, either. The Vikings' offense had its best game of the year on Monday night, and it started up front. Is it sustainable? I certainly hope so.
So, there are the nominees for this week, ladies and gentlemen. Who do you think deserves this week's game ball for your 4-0 Minnesota Vikings?