By Jason Keidel
Whereas we fawn over soccer’s midseason chalk, the clear favourite for Staff of the Yr is the Philadelphia Eagles, who personal the NFL’s greatest report (eight-1), and are having fun with a breakout season from QB Carson Wentz. Shock Group of the Yr would clearly go to the Los Angeles Rams (7-2), who’re in first place whereas hurdling the dual burdens of dangerous teaching from the fired Jeff Fisher, and the dangerous blood from fleeing a loyal and rabid fan base in St. Louis.
Neophytes Doug Pederson and Sean McVay would even be robust Coach of the Yr candidates.
However cruising properly underneath the radar — and properly above the pack (and the Packers) — is a group someplace within the center, anonymously nestled between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, two main cities that in all probability couldn’t spot Minneapolis on a map.
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Preserving with their Midwestern sensibilities, the Minnesota Vikings are profitable video games, crushing opponents, and doing all of it with their typical understated demeanor.
The Vikings (7-2) are usually not solely in first place after beating the Washington Redskins on the street, however they’re doing it with accidents at an important spots on the roster. Certainly, you might argue that the Vikings are plowing by means of the league with their third-string quarterback, Case Keenum. Keep in mind, injured starter Sam Bradford is just on the membership as a result of they desperately traded for him final yr after their true starter, Teddy Bridgewater, suffered one of the crucial ugly knee accidents ever.
Bridgewater’s damage was so graphic, teammates have been seen vomiting on the sector, and there was concern Bridgewater would lose his leg. It’s onerous to think about a comparable damage throughout a apply, no much less, with zero contact from a defender.
You might also recall that yesterday’s dashing hero, Latavius Murray, was a backup in October, as a result of rookie RB Dalvin Prepare dinner was setting the game on hearth. Via the primary few video games, he was rumbling his approach via defenses, a twin-menace as a runner or receiver, and a critical challenger to Leonard Fournette for Rookie of the Yr, and a surefire Professional Bowl choice.
So the Vikings are two video games up within the NFC Central sans their beginning QB and greatest RB. That makes Minnesota a candidate for many shocking staff of the season, and in addition earns Mike Zimmer various votes for Coach of the Yr.
Cynics will assert that the Vikings dashed out to a 5-zero mark final yr, solely to disintegrate and miss the playoffs….