When a team enjoys a good season and has won 11 of its 14 games, you expect it to grab some awards. Then again, with the general mistrust of this team among national circles — maybe not.
While Justin Jefferson has dominated the headlines in the relentless pursuit of every receiving record the NFL has, there is one NFL award that the Vikings have figured with regularity this season.
That is the NFC Player of the Week award, awarded to a Vikings player six times this season — three times for a special teams player of the week, twice for an offensive player of the week, and once for a defensive player of the week.
Kirk Cousins Becomes 6th Viking to Win NFL Award in 2022
Offensive Player of the Week
The latest player to win the ward was Kirk Cousins when he was announced as the Offensive Player of the Week, thanks to his part in Minnesota’s record-breaking comeback win against the Indianapolis Colts. His mammoth 460 passing yards and four touchdowns — most of which came in an incredible second half — caught the NFL’s eye sufficiently.
Jefferson is the other Vikings player to win that particular award this season. It feels like it could have come in any number of games. However, his Week 10 effort against the Buffalo Bills, which included that catch, 193 receiving yards, and a touchdown, got him the award.
Defensive Player of the Week
The much-maligned Vikings defense has received more criticism than it has praise this season. Back in Week 8, Za’Darius Smith had a monster game against the Arizona Cardinals that earned him the Defensive Player of the Week.
Smith’s 7 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 QB hits, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 pass deflection, proved key to a Vikings win. It also showed an all-around performance, with the edge rusher dominating both pass and run defense.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Finally, we have special teams player of the week. The Vikings have had three players claim this award in the Week 4 game in London against the New Orleans Saints. Placekicker Greg Joseph won the award. He made all five field goal attempts, while his counterpart Will Lutz failed to level the game as time expired with the “double doink” kick from 61 yards.
Ryan Wright then won the award for Week 6, as the Vikings went to Florida and beat the Miami Dolphins. He punted 10 times in that game for 441 yards, with only two return yards gained by the Dolphins. Six of the punts were inside the 20-yard line. It was a bit of a surprise when the Vikings opted for the undrafted rookie rather than the incumbent punter, Jordan Berry, who had enjoyed a solid season during his first year in Minnesota. The decision to go with Wright has proved a shrewd one.
Lastly, we have kick-off return specialist Kene Nwangwu, who impressed with the two return touchdowns in his rookie season. We had to wait until Week 12 for him to register his third career return touchdown. It came at a vital time, with the first possession for the Vikings in the second half. The touchdown leveled the score and set the platform for the Vikings to go on and win the game.