Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook, RB
The Minnesota Vikings had their season cut short yet again after missing the playoffs for the third straight year. They hosted the Chicago Bears on Sunday as their focus shifts toward next season with holes to fill in their coaching staff and front office. The Vikings scored a mere three points in the first half but ended the season with a 21 point fourth quarter to win the game 31-17. They haven’t had a winning record since 2019; this offseason must present a huge turning point if they want to compete in the star studded NFC.
Dalvin Cook’s durability and pass catching has slowly inclined since he entered the league having yet another monster season in Minnesota. The fifth year RB wrapped up the year with six touchdowns, 34 receptions, 244 receiving yards, and 1159 rushing yards in 13 games. Cook is currently tagged with the Vikings until the 2026 season so he should be vocal in priming a change so Minnesota can get back to the promise land.
Los Angeles Rams: Jalen Ramsey, CB
An NFC West showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Fransisco 49ers had every level of emotion a football fan can ask for. As the 1:00 games concluded the Rams had already punched their ticket into the playoffs, being crowned the winners of the NFC West with an Arizona Cardinals loss. The Rams came out kicking, heading into halftime with a 17-3 lead but the Niners had 14 unanswered points in the third quarter and L.A. eventually lost 27-24 in overtime.
San Fransisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo made an appearance in the final game of the regular season after being sidelined the previous week due to a thumb injury on his throwing hand. Ramsey and the Los Angeles secondary took complete advantage, forcing two interceptions while holding a run heavy team to just 64 yards on the ground. The superstar corner finished the ball game with one tackle for loss, one interception, one pass defended, three total tackles and 10 yards. Despite an excellent showing from Jalen Ramsey, the Rams let their guard down and gave up way too many easy looks in the red zone.
Los Angeles Chargers: Derwin James, SS / Asante Samuel Jr., CB
The final game of the regular season featured the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders on SNF. As many of you may know, if both teams would have kneeled for 60 minutes and never gained any yardage they would’ve both secured a spot in the postseason. In typical Chargers and Raiders fashion the game went down to the wire with just two seconds remaining in overtime where Las Vegas decided to kick the field goal and ultimately won the game 35-32.
The Chargers may have been booted to the offseason earlier than expected but the organization has to be excited for their young core and what they can accomplish in the near future. After Derwin James had dealt with an irritating list of injuries he proved why he’s regarded as one of the best safeties in the league, currently in the running for CPOTY. James concluded this matchup with one tackle for loss, two QB hits, and nine combined tackles. Head coach Brandon Staley paired the former All-Pro with rookie stud Asante Samuel Jr. and they headlined a fearsome backfield. Samuel Jr. closed out his first season in the league with one pass defended and four total tackles.
we love you, bolt fam. pic.twitter.com/DDP0ttQLTy— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) January 11, 2022
Kansas City Chiefs: Derrick Nnadi, DT
The Chiefs capped off the 2021-22 regular season with a divisional matchup in Denver, Colorado. After a rocky start in the first half Kansas City put up 18 points in the second half to overcome a great game from the Broncos secondary. The 28-24 victory propels them straight into the postseason with a 12-5 record as the No.2 team in the AFC.
While their defense was a clear issue to start the season, the Chiefs took it personal winning nine of their last ten games with a couple defensive shutdowns. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi earned his first sack since mid-November wrecking havoc through the inside of Denver’s weak O-line group. He closed the regular season with one QB hit, one tackle for loss and one sack. Nnadi has continued to develop into a defensive force and Kansas City will need every ounce of his pressure to be in full strength for another title run.
DERRICK NNADI GETS THE SACK pic.twitter.com/omFl4jk6AN— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 8, 2022
Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Sweat, DE
Philadelphia’s coaching staff agreed on the decision to rest defensive end Josh Sweat for Week 18’s game against the Dallas Cowboys since they had already locked up a spot in the postseason. Sweat finishes his fourth year in the NFL with seven tackles for loss, seven and a half sacks, 13 QB hits, and 45 total tackles. The Eagles will be on the road this weekend to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wild Card weekend.