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The Minnesota Vikings primary foe – Aaron Rodgers – notched MVP honors in 2020, besting Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. For the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers encountered a total revival. Although from 2015 to 2019 Rodgers did not play poorly, his production was hinting at an age-related decline. In 2020, though, Rodgers said “not so fast,” diming 48 touchdowns behind 4,299 passing yards and even got engaged to actress Shailene Woodley in his version of a Hollywood Casino Play4Fun free game.

The NFL MVP award is a quarterback-only honor, at least since 2012. The last non-quarterback to earn MVP recognition was Adrian Peterson as a member of the Vikings. Since then, it’s been eight consecutive quarterbacks for MVP. The NFL takes conscious steps to market passers more so than anyone else, so the MVP voters fall in line.

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Rodgers will carry his trophy into 2021 at age 38 as the incumbent. He will attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back MVP trophies since 2009 when Peyton Manning did so with the Indianapolis Colts.

All other players not named Aaron Rodgers have a clean slate should they wish to pursue the MVP trophy. Patrick Mahomes – who unexpectedly finished third in MVP voting during 2020 – is the frontrunner for the award in 2021. Per SportsBettingDime.com, Mahomes is +500 to win the thing next season. After Mahomes, it is Rodgers (+800) with Josh Allen and Russell Wilson splitting +1300 odds. That is – a gambler could lay down $100 to win $1,300 should Allen or Wilson win the 2021 NFL MVP.

Two Vikings crept inside the MVP odds – arguably the MVPs of the Vikings offense in 2020.

Dalvin Cook (+6600)

If one believes Dalvin Cook will win the 2021 MVP, wagering $100 would win the bettor $6,600. In a vacuum, Cook is just as astute a football player as the upper-echelon quarterbacks in the industry, but again, MVP voters shun running backs when voting for the league’s most valuable player. If halfbacks were still allowed to win the honor, Cook would slide up the list.

Cook finished 2020 with the second-most yards from scrimmage in NFL (1,918). He fell short of Derrick Henry by 223 yards. Henry played all 16 games – an impressive feat for a tailback. Cook missed two games in 2020, thus disqualifying his aspirations of catching Henry in this metric. But Cook topped Henry in total touchdowns with 17. Only Alvin Kamara had more scores by a running back in 2020 – chiefly because he disemboweled the Vikings on Christmas day for six paydirts.

The Vikings will likely showcase Cook profusely in the offense again during 2021. That increases Cook’s chances of sniffing the MVP award – if the voters shed quarterback bias.

Kirk Cousins (+5000)

$100 to win $5,000 – those are the stakes for those seeking to gamble on Kirk-Cousins-for-MVP in 2021. Cousins is the 17th most-likely signal-caller to win the award per SportsBettingDime. He shares the same odds as Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow – two rookies from the 2020 draft class.

Statistically, Cousins hovers around the 10th-12th best quarterback in the business when meshing passer rating, QBR, and Pro Football Focus grade. It is no surprise, however, that gambling entities value his MVP stock lower than that. The national narrative surrounding Cousins’ performance is glued to his exposing his shortcomings – and even inventing ones that do not exist. Like “dink and dunk quarterback” or “stat-padder.”

Cousins delivered 4,265 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns last season. If new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak squeezes more out of Cousins – or if the franchise throws the football more – Cousins can reasonably expect to float in MVP conversations. To be clear, those requests of Klint Kubiak are a big deal, so a Cousins-for-MVP dialogue is probably a longshot.

Obviously No WR or DEF Love

Based on sheer talent, players like Justin Jefferson or Danielle Hunter are worthy of MVP consideration in most seasons. Jefferson barnstormed the NFL en route to an NFL rookie receiving-yard record last year (1,400 yards). But the NFL has never awarded the MVP to a wide receiver – ever.

Only three non-offensive players have won the MVP award in league history. A kicker for the Washington Football Team named Mark Moseley won it 1982 during the strike-shortened season. Four years later, Lawrence Taylor won the accolade with the New York Giants. And that’s it for 34 years.

Oh, and the other non-offensive player to win MVP was Alan Page – in 1971 for the Minnesota Vikings.  

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