Minnesota Vikings MVPs: Wild Card round vs. New Orleans Saints

(Photo by Elizabeth Flores /Star Tribune via Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph
(Photo by Elizabeth Flores /Star Tribune via Getty Images) Kyle Rudolph /
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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Anthony Harris #41 of the Minnesota Vikings intercepts a pass during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Anthony Harris #41 of the Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Defensive MVP – Honorable Mentions

The Minnesota Vikings tried some new things on defense in this game. They moved Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter to the inside of the defensive line at times to get better matchups against the Saints offensive linemen.

With several members of the secondary out for the game, Mike Zimmer also had to get creative with the team’s defensive backs. His game planning was on-point and frustrated future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and kept game-changing weapons like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in check.

Even though these players weren’t named the MVP, here are some honorable mentions for the award:

  • Anthony Harris, safety – When given opportunities, Harris will take advantage of them. This time, it was a deep pass from Drew Brees that the safety and to leap and stretch for in order to intercept. He also added three tackles, one of which was for a loss.
  • Everson Griffen, defensive end – One of the premier pass rushers for Minnesota, Griffen was regularly in the backfield of the Saints. He had three hits on Brees and 1.5 sacks on the day, but those numbers don’t do total justice for how much disruption he created.
  • Andrew Sendejo, safety – Playing nickel for the first time in his career was a real challenge for Sendejo, but he stepped up in the absence of cornerbacks and performed at a high level, Despite the increased role, he also was on special teams throughout the entire game.
  • Anthony Barr, linebacker – The Vikings swarmed the line of scrimmage in this game and Barr was among the leaders of that charge. His ability to play sideline-to-sideline and contain the run was huge in holding both Kamara and Latavius Murray to limited yardage. He had eight tackles in the game, seven of those solo.
  • Harrison Smith, safety – Smith led the team in tackles with 11, eight of those being solo. Normally, a player in the secondary leading the team in tackles is a bad thing, but Sendejo in the slot allowed Smith to play more of a Joker role, which led to him playing closer to the line of scrimmage than normal this game.