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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
It's time to look at how the Vikings' team MVP candidates shape up:
1. RB Adrian Peterson: Once more, Peterson ran with fury, but he also exhibited patience, which isn't always one of his finer virtues. Often, he'll burst too quickly through holes that haven't developed yet. But that was not the case Sunday, as Peterson broke no long runs (a long of 17 yards) but had a series of defense-collapsing gains of five, six and seven and consistently delivered the blow to the defense instead of the other way around. Perhaps Peterson's best play was taking a Brett Favre screen 26 yards to set up the Vikings with a chance to steal a win in Green Bay. Peterson has been one of the five best players in the NFL at times this season.
2. LB Chad Greenway: He turned in other terrific performance in Sunday's game, making a game-high 12 tackles (three for losses). Greenway set the tone on the Vikings' first defensive play by slamming Packers RB Brandon Jackson and jarring the ball loose. Although the Packers recovered, Greenway was just getting started. Although Jackson got a step past Greenway a few times, he made a great stop on the back for a one-yard loss on a short reception in the fourth quarter. The Packers eventually went for it on fourth and were stopped as — guess who — Greenway led the charge on stuffing RB John Kuhn up the middle. Greenway has been the Vikings' best defensive player, and without a vintage performance by the defensive line in front of him every week this season.
3. WR-KR Percy Harvin: You could make the case that only Peterson means more to the offense right now, and Harvin could be a crucial figure in New England if Favre can't play. The team lined Harvin up in the backfield several times on Sunday, and it posed problems for the Packers' defense. He took a beautifully executed counter play 17 yards for a touchdown, getting low and following the lead block of TE Jeff Dugan for the score. These running instincts clearly were honed in his days as a running back at Florida. And yet, the one play we'll remember from the loss was the near-TD when Harvin made a leaping grab of a Favre pass in the back of the endzone amid three defenders ... and yet couldn't get his second foot inbounds. Still, this loss really had little to do with Harvin, who otherwise had a stellar performance. Again.
4. LB E.J. Henderson: He got turned around a few times in pass coverage, especially on a 36-yard reception by Jackson that set up a Packers score. But otherwise, it was a decent game for Henderson, who was in on four tackles. He did nothing spectacular but wasn't bad, either. Overall, he has had a strong season as a three-down performer.
5. CB Antoine Winfield: Winfield had seven tackles, the second-most for the Vikings, and was active most of the game. He made a nice stop on Aaron Rodgers' scramble at the end of the third quarter, with Rodgers coming up a yard short. (The Packers went for it on fourth and got it the next play.) Packers WR Greg Jennings beat Winfield twice for receptions, including a key catch on 3rd-and-11 with the Packers backed up in their own territory in the fourth, but that possession ended in a punt. Generally, though, Winfield did a good job and helped hold Donald Driver without a catch for the first time in more than 160 games.