Coming off of a very impressive 22-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, there are quite a few candidates for this week's Game Ball for the Minnesota Vikings. We've got players to recognize from the offense, defense, and special teams this week. Without any further ado, let's get to this week's candidates!
Everson Griffen, DE - Minnesota's pass rush was relentless on Sunday, taking Cam Newton down on eight different occasions, including once for a safety in the first quarter. Griffen was leading the way, collecting three of the takedowns and generally just harassing Newton all afternoon. Well, when he wasn't busy running back to the locker room to throw up, I mean. Yes, Griffen shook off his illness and still proved to be the most dominant player on a very dominating day for Minnesota's defense.
Jeff Locke, P - I know, it seems weird to keep putting the punter in this spot, but Locke put together his second outstanding game in a row on Sunday. On his seven punts, he averaged 48.4 yards, and put the Panthers' offense inside the 20 on three of those punts. He even contributed to the Vikings' first points of the afternoon, as his 62-yard blast in the first quarter put the Vikings in position for Danielle Hunter to take Newton down for a safety. I'm not sure why it's taken Locke this long to get to this level of performance, but here's hoping he stays there.
Kyle Rudolph, TE - This is the sort of player that Rudolph should have been for Minnesota all along. With Stefon Diggs having some difficulties against the Carolina secondary, Rudolph picked up the slack, hauling in seven passes for 70 yards and Minnesota's go-ahead touchdown on the first drive of the second half. Six of Rudolph's seven catches went for either first downs or touchdowns, and he provided Sam Bradford with a reliable target to move the chains when he needed one. Bradford and Rudolph seem to have really gotten a nice rapport going through their first two games together.
Marcus Sherels, PR/CB - The Vikings needed a spark on Sunday afternoon, and who better to provide it than the ultimate underdog. Sherels got the Vikings to within two points of the Panthers by doing what he does as well as anyone in the NFL. He fielded a punt from Andy Lee, made one quick move to his left, and found himself in the open field for a 54-yard punt return touchdown, the fourth of his Vikings career. Because of injuries, he also found himself on the field for snaps on defense late in the game, and found himself covering Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin. . .and he gave up nothing. Just another day for the guy we keep expecting to get cut every year.
So, those are the nominees I'm putting forward for this week. What do you think, folks?