Vikings players of the game: Week 16

Posted Dec. 29, 2010 @ 2:16 a.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Let's take a look at the offensive, defensive and special-teams players of the game in the Vikings' 24-14 win over the Eagles in Philadelphia:

Offense: RB Adrian Peterson ran for a game-high 118 yards and a TD and was fabulous despite being at less than full health. But we have come to expect such performances from him. WR Percy Harvin caught seven huge passes for 100 yards, but he's one of the team's bright, young stars. Instead, we'll go with the unexpected play of QB Joe Webb, making his first start and looking like a completely different player from the one who struggled so badly in his relief appearance last week against the Bears. Webb made one of the best nine-yard runs of the season, sidewinding his way to the endzone for the TD that essentially knocked out the Eagles. And along the way, Webb completed 17-of-26 passes for 195 yards with no turnovers, throwing the ball confidently and effectively. Considering the circumstances and the shock value of the upset, we'll give it to Webb.

Defense: There's no question that CB Antoine Winfield was the star tonight. He was a constant terror as a blitzer from the slot when the Vikings were in their nickel package, sacking Michael Vick twice. The first came on the second play of the game and set a tone for the evening. The biggest play of the first half was Winfield crashing in on Vick, forcing a fumble and picking it up to run back for a 45-yard TD to tie the game at 7-7. Winfield also was in on eight tackles, and his blitzing off the edge changed the way the Eagles ran their offense.

Special teams: There were no standouts, but no awful shortcomings like in the loss to the Bears (and in several other games). PK Ryan Longwell made only one kick, a 30-yard field goal, but his kickoffs against the Eagles' return game helped the field-position game for the rookie Webb. Longwell angled his kicks well, forcing one rare fair catch and keeping the Eagles to one return longer than 16 yards in four attempts.