It’s been a while since we've been able to ramp up the weekly Bengals Most Valuable Player piece, so even though the first game of the preseason was a loss for Cincinnati, it’s nice to be watching football again. Cincinnati may have fallen to 0-1 in the 2016 preseason, but they had every opportunity to pull out a win and the team looked pretty good in the 17-16 loss.
There were a number of players who looked good in the first action of the 2016 season, but a couple of new faces really shined for the club on Friday night. Cast your vote and sound off on your winner for the Bengals’ MVP award against the Vikings in the preseason opener!
AJ McCarron, Quarterback: The third-year backup carried the momentum he built as the team’s starter at the end of last year into this preseason, playing well on Friday night. McCarron was the team’s leading passer of the night and led the team to its only offensive touchdown drive of the night, largely showing poise and accuracy. He finished the night 11-of-16 for 125 yards and a touchdown pass with no turnovers.
Alex Erickson, Wide Receiver: One of the receivers who has been lost in the shuffle a bit at camp really made a name for himself on Friday night. Contributing on both offense and special teams, Erickson scored the team’s only two touchdowns of the night and put a lot of pressure on the other receivers at the back end of the depth chart. He finished with one catch for three yards and a touchdown, while also dazzling with an 80-yard punt return score in the fourth quarter.
Nick Vigil, Linebacker: The guy who racked up insane tackle numbers at Utah State proved to be just as active in the pros on Friday night. He led the team in tackles with six in total, and was flying around the field often.
Geno Atkins, Defensive Tackle: The Bengals’ starters didn’t play much, but Atkins continued to be the dominant player on defense we have seen since 2010. He had a tackle, a quarterback sack of Teddy Bridgewater and another hurry all on just three plays.
Cody Core, Wide Receiver: Erickson and Tyler Boyd may have received more attention on the evening, but Core ended up being the co-leader in receptions with three and had 33 yards while moving the sticks. It was a good effort from Core, all while playing on the opposing team to his former Ole Miss teammate Laquon Treadwell.
Who gets your vote for the preseason Week 1 Bengals MVP?