It's time to look at how the Vikings' team MVP candidates shape up:
1. RB Adrian Peterson: He is coming off his lowest rushing total of the season and was having trouble finding room against a Cowboys defense that was fairly determined not to let him get started. Although Brett Favre was charged with the first-half fumble that the Cowboys recovered, head coach Brad Childress said it was more his back's fault in hindsight. But Peterson had a workmanlike 73 yards rushing, a strong TD burst and two or three effective other rushes in the game. He remains the team's best performer to date.
2. LB Chad Greenway: He was overshadowed in a game in which E.J. Henderson was the defensive stalwart. But Greenway had an excellent game that included a team-high 12 tackles and a pass defended (on a ball he'd tell you he should have picked off) on the fourth play of the game. He also was a beast against the run with three tackles in a five-play span as the Cowboys drove for their first score. Don't blame Greenway, though. He made all the plays on that drive, including a great tackle for loss on Felix Jones.
3. LB E.J. Henderson: The emotional response would be to flip-flop these two players, but as well as Henderson is playing, he has been the team's second-best defender. That said, he had his best game of the season, with nine tackles and two interceptions. Coming into the game, Henderson had two picks in his career, and none since 2006. His INT deep in Cowboys territory set up the Vikings' first touchdown, and his late pick — in which he faked a blitz and bailed out, fooling Tony Romo completely — set up the game-winning field goal. Henderson also added nine tackles, including six in the second half.
4. WR-KR Percy Harvin: You could make the case he deserves to be higher, and the guess here is that after two more games he will be. Harvin is hot right now. In the past two games, he has made impact plays as a receiver and returner and looks to be on the verge of a huge game or two. Harvin's 95-yard kickoff to start the second half was just what the doctor ordered; prior to that, the Vikings had been flat as North Dakota. He also got some work in the backfield on Sunday, and Childress seems to be opening up the playbook even more for Harvin each week. Watch for punt returns and (maybe) a snap or two from under center. The sky is the limit.
5. CB Antoine Winfield: Yes, Brett Favre is playing better, but we need to see more to be impressed. As we wrote last time, Winfield quietly is going about his business and is doing a nice job supporting the run, too. After all, why would you throw at him with a bunch of questions on the other side of the field? Picking on Lito Sheppard has made more sense for opponents so far, with Winfield playing well. The foot hasn't been an issue for months.