“Because of his huge salary, people already think Cousins is a major bust after nine games. In reality, Cousins has put up Hall of Fame type numbers (17 TD to 5 INT and a 71.3 completion percentage for 2,685 yards).”
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We release three Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs a week, one on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), one on Thursday (Minnesota Wild related), and one on Friday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
We have an extra fun Vikings update this week. Since it's the Vikings bye week and we're little over halfway through the season, here are analyst Mike Coenen's By the Bye Week Awards.
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Adam Thielen gets this, hands down. Not only has Thielen played as well, if not better, than any other Viking receiver in Viking history through the first nine games, he has done so much more banged up than people realize. He’s not walking around with a serious injury, but other receivers/running backs on the team, whom shall remain nameless, are sitting games out with injuries that probably are not as troublesome as what Thielen is dealing with.
Latavius Murray is the runner-up. He has again had to come off the bench and carry the Viking running game because of injuries to Dalvin Cook, and again he has been phenomenal. There was some talk in the off-season about trading him, and that would have been a mistake.
Danielle Hunter gets the nod as the Defensive MVP. The 24 year old has 11.5
sacks through nine games. If he stays healthy, he’s a future superstar in this league.
Runner-up goes to Harrison Smith. He’s having another stellar season, and just seems to have a knack (get the knack) (brilliant! -ed) for being around the football. He can defend deep, stop the run, and pass rush.
Special teams MVP
No MVP. Special Teams play sucks.
Biggest surprise player
Another award for Adam Thielen. He just keeps getting better and surprising a lot of people. Remember, this guy was a walk-on, he was not drafted. If he was drafted, even as the first pick in the draft, he would still be blowing people away with how good he is, much less as a walk-on. Thielen has taken his play to the next level this season. He is even better than he was last season, and a lot of people are surprised by that.
Biggest letdown player
Dalvin Cook, only because he can’t seem to stay healthy. When he’s on the field he plays well. The only problem is that he’s not out on the field very much.
Definitely the Cousins to Diggs 75 yard bomb with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter with the Vikings down 23-14 to the Packers. That was the moment that many Viking fans came to believe in Kirk Cousins.
Not long after the best moment, when Daniel Carlson missed the 35 yard field in OT against the Packers. There's a reason he was cut from the team after that. Without that tie, the Vikings are looking a bit better in the divisional and playoff hunt.
Most underrated offensive player
Kirk Cousins. Because of his huge salary, people already think he’s a major bust after nine games. In reality, Cousins has put up Hall of Fame type numbers through 9 games (17 TD to 5 INT and a 71.3 completion percentage for 2,685 yards). These are really good stats. Do they justify such a big contract? No, but this is not about the contract. Cousins’ critics have him competing against his contract when they should really be comparing him to other quarterbacks.
Most underrated defensive player
Eric Kendricks, who always seems to be in the mix. For example, he has 24 assists, while the next closest Viking has 13. This shows that Kendricks is a hustler, often getting to where the ball carrier is. He definitely doesn't get enough credit for the range of field he is capable of covering.
Biggest reason for hope for the rest of the season
The defensive seemed to be coming on strong before the break.
Biggest reason for despair for the rest of the season
The fear that the Viking offense will not be able to keep up with such offensive juggernauts as the Saints and Rams in the playoffs. They will not get through either one of these teams should they meet them in the playoffs.
Mike Coenen is a writer, historian, professor, and author from Little Falls, Minnesota. He is the Vikings analyst for Rambling On and is the co-host of the Minnesota Sports Ramble podcast. Since 2016 he has been creating content for Rambling On as sports analyst and podcast co-host.