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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
Let's look at how the Vikings' team MVP candidates for the season shape up following their 17-13 win over the Redskins:
1. RB Adrian Peterson: He looked to be on his way to a monster game Sunday but suffered an ankle sprain and couldn't return. In the short time he was in the ballgame, Peterson managed to carry the ball six times for 36 yards (including a five-yard TD run in which he dragged a defender for at least two yards into the endzone) and a 34-yard reception. The difference between Peterson and his replacement, Toby Gerhart, soon became evident. Gerhart did a nice job in his place, rushing 22 times for 76 yards and his own TD, but Peterson's explosiveness is worlds apart. He could have a big game Sunday if he can go against the shorthanded Bills.
2. WR-KR Percy Harvin: The game plan clearly called for getting the ball in Harvin's hands in myriad ways, including out of the backfield and on a couple of quick-hitting screens. He had a team-high five receptions but only 46 yards from scrimmage and a illegal shift penalty to boot. As a returner, Harvin averaged fewer than 20 yards on his four kickoffs. The Redskins kept him hemmed in nicely there.
3. LB Chad Greenway: After probably his worst game in Week 11, Greenway bounced back with a strong effort Sunday, again leading the team in tackles with nine. One of those came on a big hit on WR Anthony Armstrong over the middle. It was another good performance in a season full of them. His free-agent price tag has raised over some other free-agent linebackers, such as Philadelphia's Stewart Bradley and Tampa Bay's Barrett Ruud.
4. CB Antoine Winfield: Winfield did not have one of his best games with a slip-up in coverage on Santana Moss on one play and a missed tackle on another. But he rallied with a few nice plays in run support, as he typically does, and otherwise offered strong coverage, even against the somewhat limited Redskins offense.
5. OLT Bryant McKinnie: Last week, we were a bit harsh in leaving the spot open because of the poor effort in the loss to the Packers. But we think we must recognize what has been a pretty strong season by McKinnie. Although the Packers game was one he would like to forget, it was probably his one poor performance. On Sunday, McKinnie was a force throughout and really only was beaten for a pressure once to the naked eye. On the 34-yard screen play, McKinnie did a subtle thing: He went into a traditional pass set, fading back into the backfield, as opposed to just letting the pass rusher get past him. The screen required an extra moment's time to develop, and McKinnie made it look like a five- or seven-step drop and allowed Peterson to scoot out to the other side of the field cleanly for the big gain. It was a nice play in perhaps McKinnie's best season to date. Quite an upgrade after his performance last year.