Coach Of The Year – Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings
This one is a no-brainer. Gary Kubiak (Broncos) and Doug Pederson (Eagles) have each guided their teams to a perfect start, but Zimmer has had to overcome injuries to his two key offensive players en route to Minnesota’s impressive 4-0 start. Without Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, Zimmer is maximizing Sam Bradford’s ability in a conservative offense and has simultaneously cultivated one of the scariest defenses in the league. After spending 20 years in the NFL before finally landing his first head coaching gig with Minnesota in 2014, it’s safe to say Zimmer is making the most of the opportunity.
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Offensive Rookie of the Year – Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz narrowly edges out Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott for this honor, as the No. 2 overall pick has managed to do more with less talent around him. The North Dakota State alum has thrown for 769 yards, 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions while guiding his Eagles to a 3-0 start. It’s still way too early to declare him the next great young quarterback, but at this point, the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns are certainly second-guessing their decision not to draft him.
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Defensive Rookie of the Year – Yannick Ngakoue – Jacksonville Jaguars
No rookie has run away with this award only four games into the season, but at this point, Ngakoue has been the most impactful. The third-round pick out of Maryland has 10 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception and 1 pass defended. Perhaps most impressive, Ngakoue is doing all of this as a non-starter for the Jaguars. While fellow rookies Jalen Ramsey, Dante Fowler Jr. and Myles Jack were supposed to be the keys to a defensive turnaround in Jacksonville, it’s Ngakoue who would walk away with the hardware if the season ended today.
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Offensive Player of the Year – Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
With such a small sample size four games into the season, Julio Jones’ 300-yard effort in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers was spectacular enough to earn this award. Jones leads all receivers with 488 yards (despite only 16 yards in his Week 3 game against the Saints), and has been crucial in helping his Falcons to a 3-1 start. In this golden era of wide receivers, no one has been more impressive than Atlanta’s Julio Jones through the first quarter of the season.
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Defensive Player of the Year – Von Miller – Denver Broncos
After signing the richest deal for a defensive player in NFL history this past offseason, many were concerned Miller would become complacent. Those skeptics sure look idiotic now, as Miller looks better and more disruptive than ever. The 6-year veteran leads the league with 5.5 sacks and is the undisputed leader of Denver’s impenetrable defense. With Denver at 4-0 showing no signs of slowing down, Miller appears primed to take home this award for the first time in his career.
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Most Valuable Player – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
While Julio Jones takes the Offensive Player of the Year award, the man throwing him the ball obviously deserves some recognition as well. After eight good, but not great seasons with the Falcons, Matt Ryan finally seems to be hitting his stride in his ninth. He has turned Atlanta into the most dangerous offense in the NFL, and is leading the league in passing yards (1,473), completion percentage (72.1), yards per attempt (10.52) and passing touchdowns (11). With the Falcons sitting at 3-1 and already holding a two-game lead in the NFC South, no one has been more valuable through the first four weeks than the Boston College alum.
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