You know you’re playing some good team football when your nose tackle is the star of the week.
Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his dominating performance in Sunday’s 21-18 overtime win over the Rams.
“I’m just humble, happy to get the award,” Joseph said. “I just want to give it to all my teammates, because without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this award. We just have to play together, and by us playing together, it gave me the opportunity to make plays.”
Joseph had 10 tackles (seven solo), half a sack, three tackles for loss and two quarterback pressures. The 10 tackles tied for the team lead in the game, the most in Joseph’s career and the most by a defensive tackle in the NFL this season (with New Orleans’ John Jenkins). Joseph’s 26 tackles also leads all NFL defensive tackles on the season.
Joseph started last season injured because of a random gunshot wound from a nightclub shooting where he was an innocent bystander. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has singled out Joseph repeatedly for his strong play in his second season with the Vikings, however.
“I’m glad to be healthy, have this second year under my belt,” Joseph said. “I know the playbook now, everything’s coming to me easier, and the team, everything’s coming together. That's all you can ask for. We just want to win, and everybody’s doing their job.
Joseph had tackles for loss on two of the biggest defensive series of the game — the one following Teddy Bridgewater’s interception and the one to start overtime. In both cases, the Vikings’ defense forced a three-and-out. And in both cases, the offense got the ball and drove for the go-ahead points.
Joseph is the fourth Vikings defensive tackle to win the award. He joins Keith Millard, John Randle, who did it five times, and Kevin Williams, the last to do it in 2004. The last Vikings defensive player to win the award was linebacker Anthony Barr last season at Tampa Bay.