Coming off of the Minnesota Vikings' 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, it's time to have a talk about who should get the Game Ball for this week's contest. Yes, I know. . .the choice for this week should be relatively obvious, but we are, as they say, committed to the bit. With that, let's take a look at some of the candidates for this week's award.
Sam Bradford, quarterback - For the past couple of years, the hopes that Vikings' fans have had for the quarterback position could pretty well be summarized as "don't screw it up." Given that he was under siege all night and injured his hand early in the contest, what he managed to do was pretty impressive. Oh, that and the fact that he's only been a member of the Vikings for two weeks and has been cramming the playbook into his mind that entire time. Bradford set a record for passing yards for a Vikings' quarterback in his first start (286), and stood tall in the pocket while taking some big shots. He was one of the biggest reasons the Vikings walked out with a victory on Sunday night. . .that's a long way from "don't screw it up." His second touchdown pass of the night is one of the best throws you'll see anywhere.
Stefon Diggs, wide receiver - Of course, the man on the receiving end of that touchdown pass is none other than your National Football League receiving yardage leader, Stefon Diggs. With Sam Shields out of the lineup, the Packers had no answer for Diggs all evening long. He was targeted nine times, and caught all nine of them for 182 yards and a score, including a pair of 40-plus yard passes. He's the first Vikings' receiver to have 100 yards receiving games in the first two games of a season since some guy named Cris Carter back in 1997. If the NFL didn't know who Stefon Diggs was before last night, they certainly do now.
Linval Joseph, defensive tackle - Joseph was, once again, a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line for Minnesota. With his regular sidekick, Sharrif Floyd, inactive for this one, Joseph took it upon himself to destroy the interior of the Green Bay offensive line. He was in on six tackles on the evening, including two tackles for loss, and collected one of the Vikings' five sacks on the evening. When he wasn't doing that, he was pushing guys back in the pocket in the pass game, and closing holes in the run game. The Minnesota defense as a whole played an outstanding game on Sunday night, and Joseph was the catalyst for it.
Jeff Locke, punter - I know what you're saying. . .whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Well, if we're going to say unpleasant things about him when he's bad, it's only right to be positive about him when he's good, and Locke had one of his better games as a Viking last night. Yes, he had one punt partially blocked to set up the Packers' first score, but that's as much on the blocking up front as it is on him. He placed five of his punts inside the 20-yard line, and when you have a defense as good as Minnesota's defense, that's one of the best things that a punter can do. So, let's give the guy a little credit when it's due.
Those are the nominees that I'm putting forward for this week. If you think that I missed somebody, feel free to name them in our comments section.