Some of the Vikings that deserve to be honored but didn't make the cut include E.J. Henderson, who lead the team in tackles, including a hit on Jason McKie that was so vicious it sent the ball flying in the air and left McKie unconcious on the field. Sidney Rice only caught one pass (and he really, really should have caught the pass right before his reception), but main, what a catch that was, having to stop, turn around and launch his 6'4 frame into a dive to haul it in. Tarvaris Jackson also had some miscues, including some startling inaccurate passes, but he did not turn the ball over once today, and he threw a breathtakingly beautiful deep ball to Troy Williamson that was so well thrown that even Troy Williamson had to catch it.
Before we move on to the Three Stars, I'd like to take this moment to honor Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins. By making a juggling interception on the sideline, he helped Brett Favre become the Interception King and allowed Favre to set the record against the team that was the first to pick him off. A tip of the horns goes out to Rogers, who will always be welcome amongst Vikings Fans. And now, the Three Stars:
Third Star: Troy Williamson
If you'd told me prior to the game that Troy Williamson would be the leading receiver against da Bears, I would have been worried. For once, however, Williamson showed why he was the 7th overall pick. He's always had the speed and he's always had the ability to get by corners and safeties, but, for whatever reason, the catching part has eluded him. It didn't against da Bears, when he hauled in a 60 yard touchdown pass to answer Devin Hester and tie the game at the end of the first quarter. And it was good.
Second Star: Ben Leber
Da Bears were driving near the end of the third quarter, looking to answer Adrian Peterson's 73 yard touchdown run that had put the Vikings up 21-14. After a false start, Brian Griese looked across the middle for Desmond Clark, who was wide open for a sure first down. Luckily for the Vikings, Leber was there, or at least close enough to stretch out for a leaping interception that set up a Vikings field goal. He also had the Vikings only sack, when he came in unmolested to drop Griese and end another Bears drive.
First Star: Ryan Longwell
What? You expected someone else to get the First Star? C'mon--it's got to be tiring kicking all those extra points. And I like to reward kickers when they make game winning 55 yard field goals. Longwell bounced back from a miss against Detroit to knock a possible season saving field goal through the swirling Soldier Field winds and seal the Purple's second victory, and Brad Childress' first division win against a team aside from Detroit.
Purple Jesus: Adrian Peterson
When a Vikings' player obliterates a franchise record and almost singlehandidly carries them to victory in the most stunning coming out party I've ever seen, they don't get the First Star. That would cheapen it somehow. Adrian Peterson really was the Purple Jesus on Sunday, breaking three long touchdown runs, all of which he earned. He broke tackles, made cutbacks and embarrassed defenders in ways they weren't ready to be embarrassed. These weren't runs that any back could have made. And it wasn't enough for the Purple Jesus to score three touchdowns and rush for 224 yards on 20 carries. Not at all. The NFL's leading rusher also returned four kickoffs for 128 yards, including a 53 yard return that set up the game winning field goal. Not only did he outrush da Bears, the fifth time he's outrushed the Vikings' opponent, he accounted for 52% of the Vikings' total yards. Honestly, I don't have the words to describe how dominant he was today. I've never seen anything like it, and that includes Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper at their best. That's something folks. Man is that something.