Most Surprising Player
There’s plenty of candidates when it comes to the Most Surprising Player, but Riley Reiff takes the cake here. When Reiff was signed to a five year, $58.75 million contract in free agency, most thought the Vikings overpaid for another mediocre tackle. For a fanbase that sorely wanted a top left tackle like Andrew Whitworth, many were disappointed when they signed the former Detroit Lions tackle.
In fairness, he was never fantastic with the Lions and was coming off his worst season with them. So, fans had reason to believe that he’d end up playing like former starter Matt Kalil, who was underwhelming for a majority of his Vikings tenure.
Contrary to popular thought, Reiff has been anything but mediocre. He’s stabilized the left tackle position for Minnesota and has not allowed a sack yet this season. In comparison, Whitworth has allowed three sacks with the Rams. Compared to all left tackles, Reiff is the only one to start every game and not allow a sack through eight weeks.
Overall, Reiff is the biggest surprise this season and deserves so much credit for the offensive line’s turnaround.
Strongly considered: Case Keenum, Mike Remmers, Jerick McKinnon
Most Disappointing Player
MICHAEL FLOYD/LAQUON TREADWELL
Of all the honors, this is the only one a Vikings player doesn’t want to be known for. Yet, with any team, there’s usually a player or two that disappoints over the course of a season. For the Vikings, there’s been two major disappointments at the half point, meaning we have co-winners for Most Disappointing Player. These winners are receivers Michael Floyd and Laquon Treadwell.
To start, it was already disappointing enough that Floyd had to miss four games due to suspension, but since returning, he hasn’t made much of an impact at all in the offense. The opportunity has been there for the troubled wideout after Stefon Diggs missed two weeks with a groin injury, but he didn’t take advantage. Additionally, he’s had injury problems of his own.
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On the other hand, Treadwell hasn’t done much himself, playing in all eight games. On the year, he only has 12 catches for 142 yards. Compared to last season, that’s a drastic improvement, although not enough of one for the Vikings 2016 first round pick. In reality, he looks more and more like a bust for Minnesota.
While both receivers are solid run blockers and provide value in that regard, they also were expected to be weapons receiving. Sure, the likes of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs demand attention, but even when Diggs went down, neither stood out to a high degree.
To Treadwell’s credit, seven of his catches have come over the last three games, but there’s still another level he has to get to if he wants to prove his worth as a first round draft choice. As far as Floyd, he has to work on establishing chemistry with Vikings quarterbacks and find ways to make plays on the ball when given the opportunity.
For now though, they go down as the most disappointing players from the first half of the season.
Strongly considered: Latavius Murray