Though franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins was the driving force behind the Vikings turning things around over the past month, star pass rusher Danielle Hunter and rookie receiver Jordan Addison did their fair share of work, as well.
As a result, Hunter was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month, and Addison was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month.
The monthly award was very much deserved, as Hunter had five sacks and a pair of force fumbled in October, while Addison had five receiving touchdowns, emerging as a focal point of the offense with star receiver Justin Jefferson on injured reserve.
That production from both players helped the Vikings finished 4-1 last month, scoring wins over the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Not only are the Vikings now 4-4 and right back in the NFC North race, they have won three straight games, the longest active streak among all teams in the NFC.
Not surprisingly, Hunter downplayed his personal success, instead crediting his teammates for putting him in a position to succeed.
“Think about all the stuff that we’ve been through,” Hunter said. “Just going out there and playing with my teammates means a lot.”
That wasn’t necessarily a guarantee for Hunter moving forward with his name attached to rumors at the trade deadline. Did he pay attention to the noise?
“Not really,” Hunter said. “I always knew I was going to be here.”
O’Neill offers Cousins advice
After suffering a torn Achilles at Lambeau Field last weekend, Cousins will likely lean heavily on right tackle Brian O’Neill throughout the recovery process. If anybody can empathize with what Cousins is going through it’s O’Neill after suffering a very similar injury at Lambeau Field last season.
“I’ve been talking to him a bunch throughout it,” O’Neill said. “I know he’s going to attack it the right way.”
As for the way Cousins has continued to be positive over the past few days, O’Neill said he wouldn’t expect anything less.
“That’s him,” O’Neill said. “We’ve seen it for five and a half years.”