Every year you see publications dropping their award predictions for the upcoming season. Today, I am going to do just that, but mix in my homer picks to make it a Vikings related piece. The Vikings don't have someone for every award on the surface however, so the weird ones just bear with me. Let's kick it off with MVP!
NFL MVP: Buffalo QB Josh Allen
This is my 3rd year in a row picking Allen to win MVP, and one of these years I will be correct. He is still a turnover machine, but if he cuts down on those he will have the stats and enough wins to be in the MVP discussion. Last year Allen had a line of 63%/4,407/36/15/92.2. Not a bad season by any means, but he needs to get those INTs down and QB rating over 100 to win the award.
Potential MVP on the Vikings: Kirk Cousins
Before you click off the article, hear me out. QBs win MVP, as you may remember the last non-QB MVP was Adrian Peterson in 2012. Kirk puts up great to elite numbers every year, and now with an offensive minded, former QB, at head coach... Who is to say Kirk isn't elevated? He has the weapons, and it looks like he will have the best OL he's ever had in purple, so I don't think it is far fetched to believe Kirk can have his name in the discussion. In fact, I used a $200 free bet on Kirk to win MVP at +4,000. With that said, if Kirk Cousins wins an MVP the world will explode, so there's that.
Offensive Player of the Year: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
This one doesn't need 2 paragraphs. Jefferson is a top 3 WR in the sport, has a QB known for allowing his WRs to be productive, and now a pass first offense with a HC known as an offensive mind. KOC was the OC for Cooper Kupp when he won the award last year, and Justin Jefferson is immensely more talented than Kupp. I won't listen to any arguments on that. Jetts is bound to explode in this offense, and I predict he will do it all the way to the OPOY.
Defensive Player of the Year: Chargers EDGE Joey Bosa
Outta left field you say? Listen to the explanation. The Chargers made vast improvements on defense this year, and on paper should be a top 3 defense in football. They added Khalil Mack, so throwing a double at Bosa becomes much tougher. They added JC Jackson to aid the coverage unit, giving Bosa more time to rush. #33 is healthy for week one and hopefully will remain that way, again aiding in giving Bosa more time to win a pass rush. If Bosa leads the league in sacks, which wouldn't surprise me, he would win the award.
Potential DPOY on the Vikings: EDGE Danielle Hunter
As I hinted at above with Bosa, all one has to do is lead the league in sacks and they are handed DPOY. Since 2010, only 3 non-pass rushers have been given the award, Troy Polamalu, Luke Kuechly, and Stephon Gilmore. Hunter is easily one of the most dominant pass rushers in all of football, but his body hasn't held up the last two seasons, missing 26 of the last 33 games. He was on pace for 15 sacks and 15 TFL last year, and the addition of Za'Darius Smith will only help him rack up more of those.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Packers WR Christian Watson
Holy crap this is a take isn't it? I promise this isn't some hot take bs to generate clicks. I have LOVED Christian Watson for a long long time. The receipts are out there @SportTalkCenter on twitter if you care to go find them. Not to be that guy, but I was on Watson well before the mega hype train. Now that he's paired with a back-to-back MVP QB in Aaron Rodgers, with a chance to be the alpha dog WR1 right off the bat, I think he can explode as a rook.
Potential OROY for the Vikings: uhhhhh... Jalen Nailor, I guess?
It's either him or Ty Chandler, and if Ty Chandler sees major carries that means terrible terrible things have happened... On to the next one.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Baltimore Ravens S Kyle Hamilton
Basically for these ROY picks I choose someone who I loved in the draft process who went to a good situation. The Ravens boast the league's best secondary and Hamilton will play a big part in that. Hamilton possesses big play ability and could win this award off of highlights and team success.
Potential Vikings DROY: CB Andrew Booth
I picked Booth because he has a chance to come in right away and make an immediate impact on the Vikings' atrocious CB unit. Lewis Cine is of course the first round defensive pick, but I am not 100% certain he plays right away, or ever takes a large role in year one due to the presence of Harrison Smith and Cam Bynum. It's not clear whether Booth will play a large role either, but if I had to bet on one group needing the help it would be the CB room.
Comeback Player of the Year: Falcons QB Marcus Mariota
This one was tough to peg, but I landed on Mariota for a few reasons. The first being that he hasn't started a game since 2019, so he more than qualifies. The next being that I love his top two weapons in Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Two freaky huge athletes that have a huge catch radius to help reel in maybe not the best throws. The last being that if he does get the chance to start, it is do or die for his career as a starting QB. Of course, that doesn't always mean something, but we have seen guys ball out with contacts/careers on the line. He too is still only 29, so there is a lot of gas left in the tank.
Potential CPOY on the Vikings: EDGE Danielle Hunter
He makes another appearance as I don't know who else qualifies as well as him. Everything I said about him previously, read it again for an explanation.
Coach of the Year: Chargers HC Brandon Staley
I fully expect the Chargers to win the AFC West this year, and even like them as a pick to come out of the AFC. This award generally goes to the best team, or the team that goes from worst to first. The Chargers missed the playoffs last year, so if they come out and win 13 games, I think that puts Staley in the driver's seat for this award.
Potential Vikings COY: HC Kevin O'Connell
Duh, right? Of course it is KOC, but in order for him to win he would have to fully evolve the Vikings offense into a top 2 unit, and win a lot of football games in the process. There is a universe where that happens, but I'm not sure it's the one we're living in. I hope it can be, I just wouldn't bet on it.