Seven percent of the NFL's coaches have cast their ballots for the league's best player.
And - surprise! - they haven't voted for Dan Marino or Eric Dickerson or Lawrence Taylor or any of the other names usually found at the top of most people's lists."I think Joey Browner is the best player in the league and I think he showed it today," Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson said Monday after Browner and the Minnesota defense led the Vikings to a 28-17 victory in the NFC wild-card game.
"Joey is as good as any player in the league. No one can play better," Vikings coach Jerry Burns said. "You can say anything about him that you want as long as it's good."
The praise for Browner - whose two interceptions in the game's first 8:28 set the tone and sparked the Vikings to a 14-0 lead - wasn't limited to two of the NFL's 28 head coaches.
"All I can say is I've been associated with a future Hall of Famer," Vikings defensive coordinator Floyd Peters said. "Week-in and week-out, it's great watching him do these great things. And I ask a lot of things of him."
Rams quarterback Jim Everett added, simply: "Joey Browner is the best."
The victory was the second straight in the NFC wild-card game for the Vikings, who made it to the conference title game as a wild card last year. They were 11-5 this season, finishing second to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Central for the fourth straight season.
Minnesota will visit NFC West champion San Francisco next Sunday as the race for the Super Bowl title reaches the quarterfinal stage. The Vikings shocked the 49ers in last year's playoffs.
Philadelphia will play at Chicago next Saturday in the other NFC game. In the AFC, Seattle visits Cincinnati Saturday and Buffalo hosts Houston Sunday.
An All-Pro strong safety, Browner is feared around the league for his ferocious hitting. He also has seven interceptions this season.
Browner's first interception ruined the Rams' first possession, as he stole the football from Willie Anderson near the goal line.
After Browner's 26-yard return, the Vikings went 73 yards in nine plays, the last Alfred Anderson's 7-yard run.
On the next play, Browner picked off Everett at the Rams' 31 and returned the interception 14 yards. Allen Rice's 17-yard run on the first play from scrimmage made it 14-0. The Rams never caught up.
Even though Browner and company controlled the game's tempo, the Rams trailed only 14-7 at halftime, as Everett hit Damone Johnson with a 3-yard scoring pass in the second quarter.
But the Vikings went 84 yards on their opening drive of the second half - capped by Anderson's 1-yard burst - and it soon became obvious the Rams wouldn't be able to rally from the 21-7 deficit.