RandBall: Phil Loadholt as Vikings' MVP. Yes, according to an ESPN writer
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- January 30, 2013 - 12:45 PM
As pointed out by fellow Vikings enthusiast and noted writer Drew Magary (he doesn't just swear on Deadspin; he wrote a novel, we are finally reading it, and it is quite good), we have just read something that qualifies as, "You can't be serious!"
Side note: We might have read it even sooner if Drew's e-mail hadn't wound up in our junk folder, likely because his subject line was simply "!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So: Gregg Easterbrook, writing for ESPN.com, has a little feature in the midst of a long column that tries to recognize the non-running back, non-quarterback who would be deserving, in his estimation, of the MVP award. It's more or less an "unsung hero" award. Only guys on playoff teams are qualified, which means YOUR VIKINGS had a crack at it. Anyway, he names his runner-up and winner thusly:
This year's runner up is Marshal Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens, one of the three or four best offensive linemen in the NFL, and master of a lost art, the pull trap. This year's winner is NaVorro Bowman of the San Francisco Forty Niners. Bowman led the Niners in tackling, stayed on the field on passing downs, and broke up the Falcons' last-minute fourth down pass -- while covering speed receiver Roddy White -- to secure the Niners' trip to New Orleans. Teammate Patrick Willis, also a linebacker, gets far more attention than Bowman; they are equal as performers. Sentimental factor: your columnist attended one of Bowman's games in high school.
OK, Bowman is a nice player. Probably not as good as Willis -- though we can see that attending one of his high school games is certainly not just a tie-breaker but a straight shot to the top fact).
But we're not here to quibble with that part. We're here to tell you about the real shocker -- the "finalists" from every other playoff team:
Atlanta -- Tony Gonzalez
Cincinnati -- Geno Atkins
Denver -- Von Miller
Green Bay -- Randall Cobb
Houston -- Johnathan Joseph
Indianapolis -- Anthony Castonzo
Minnesota -- Phil Loadholt
New England -- Wes Welker
Seattle -- Max Unger
Washington -- Tyler Polumbus
You are reading that correctly. Loadholt was his Vikings choice. Now, you can make the argument that Loadholt gets more blame than he deserves when things go poorly and should get more love for his work on a revamped offensive line. But it is also patently absurd to say he is the team's MVP outside of RB and QB. He is no better than the third-best offensive lineman on the team (behind Matt Kalil and John Sullivan, choose your order there). Kalil, Kyle Rudolph, Jared Allen, Blair Walsh and Chad Greenway all fit the award criteria and WERE PART OF THE PRO BOWL.
Rant over. Go on with your lives.
© 2013 Star Tribune