The NFL handed out its major awards on the eve of the Super Bowl with the third annual NFL Honors awards. The Vikings went without winning any awards, but Mike Grant, the son of Vikings legend Bud Grant, was named high school coach of the year.
Last year, the NFL Honors program the night before the Super Bowl had a distinctively Adrian Peterson
flavor. Coming off the second-most rushing yards in the history of the NFL, Peterson's selection as Most Valuable Player dominated the headlines.
This year, not so much.
A.P.'s only appearance on stage was as a presenter. Peterson and Hugh Jackman, who has made the X-Men character Wolverine a movie franchise, presented the Comeback Player of the Year. Typically, the Comeback Player award is given to a player who has overcome adversity – typically a career-threatening injury – to return to his previous form. Last year, Peterson didn't win it. That honor went to Peyton Manning
, who would cap the night by winning his fifth MVP award – an acknowledgement that has long-since punched his ticket to the Pro Football of Fame. This year, it went to San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers
. What? All Rivers did was not stink as badly as he did the two previous years. That seems like the recipient of the "It's About Time" award, not Comeback Player of the Year.
Peterson finished third in the voting for play of the year for his season-opening 78-yard run for a touchdown at Detroit on his first play from scrimmage.
was a finalist for the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year Award, but that went to Packers running back Eddie Lacy
. Given Lacy's role with the Packers offense when Aaron Rodgers
went down and the QB play in Green Bay seemingly got worse by the week, it's hard to dispute Lacy's credentials for winning the award.
Om the downside of things, the Vikings were directly involved in one of the finalists for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year, thanks to the wild finish in their game with the Ravens. That "moment" didn't win the honor.
There was a Minnesota winner at the NFL Honors ceremony, however, but it didn't involve the Vikings … at least not the current Vikings. Eden Prairie High School football coach Mike Grant, the son of legendary Vikings head coach Bud Grant, was named the Don Shula High School Coach of the Year. In his time at Eden Prarie High, Grant has won nine state titles, including the last three years.
While it appears the NFL Honors program, now in its third year, is going to remain a Super Bowl eve tradition and it's a nice way to honor players and coaches for their achievements, this year's event seemed quite devoid of a Vikings presence. Maybe next year that will change.
One of the selling points on a coach like Norv Turner is how his former players react to his leaving. Browns Nation wasn't shedding too many tears that head coach Rob Chudzinski was fired, but the reaction to Turner leaving has been vocal. In New York for Super Bowl festivities, wide receiver Josh Gordon, who put up monster numbers in Turner's offense despite being double-teamed consistently and going through a revolving door at QB after returning from a two-game suspension, didn't mince words. Gordon said, "You can't replace Norv Turner. That's a legendary Hall of Fame coach. If (the new offense) is the same offense, heck, we'd be lucky to have it."
The Vikings have refused to confirm that coaches have been hired and, during an interview on the Twin Cities FOX affiliate Saturday prior to the NFL Honors broadcast, at first general manager Rick Spielman declined to confirm that Turner had been hired, but later, when discussing how the offense is set at key positions, Spielman described the talent evaluation in terms of "it depends on what Norv wants to do." It sounded very much like confirmation when couched in those terms.
Former Vikings defensive coordinator Tony Dungy, who went on to winning a Super Bowl title in Indianapolis after a successful head coaching career, is a Hall of Fame human being. But, for this year anyway, he won't have his bust in Canton. Dungy was one of the 15 Hall of Fame finalists, but was eliminated when the finalists were reduced from 15 down to 10.
It seems like everyone who follows football has a prediction for today's game. It would seem the majority of those talking about it have their money on Seattle. As the story goes, the best defense beats the best offense. But this is the best offense of all time. Granted, that didn't help when the Vikings set the scoring record in 1998 and New England snapped it in 2007, but Peyton Manning will control the game enough to put the Broncos in the winner's circle. 23-20. At least that is this writer's prediction.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.