MINNEAPOLIS — The New Orleans Saints appear to be on the verge of making history.
Only one team in 50 years has ever swept the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, and that was the Detroit Lions back in 1967, the first season the awards were given.
Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara are the favorites to become the first pair of teammates to sweep the Rookie of the Year awards since running back Mel Farr and cornerback Lem Barney performed the feat for Detroit in the early days of the Super Bowl era.
From the way things look, the only player who might be able to spoil the party is Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt.
Hunt, like Kamara a third-round pick, was the driving force for the Chiefs' offense, leading the entire NFL with 1,327 rushing yards. In addition, Hunt caught 53 passes for 455 yards and scored 11 touchdowns overall.
Kamara has paid close attention to Hunt, along with other productive rookie backs like former LSU star Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville and Carolina's Christian McCaffrey.
"We're both rookie running backs that are doing well," Kamara said. "I keep up with him; I watch him."
Hunt, likewise, has kept an eye on Kamara, who shared carries and touches with veteran Mark Ingram — unlike Hunt, who had Kansas City's backfield all to himself.
Even while sharing the load, Kamara rushed for 720 yards, caught an eye-popping 81 passes for 826 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns, a number that includes his 106-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Tampa Bay in the regular-season finale.
"Alvin's a great player, and I've definitely got a lot of respect for him," Hunt said.
Kamara's teammates have been making his case loudly and proudly over the past few months.
"Kareem Hunt had a phenomenal year, but he's not averaging 7 yards a carry. He's not making the explosive plays that Alvin's doing. He's not catching out of the backfield like Alvin's doing?" defensive end Cameron Jordan said.
Lattimore, on the other hand, appears to be the clear favorite for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Former LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White turned in a good season in Buffalo, and Pittsburgh outside linebacker T.J. Watt played a disruptive role as a starter for the Steelers, but Lattimore's presence was likely the biggest reason the Saints defense finally climbed out of the bottom half of the NFL.
Lattimore finished the season tied for fifth in the league with five interceptions — the most for a Saints player since the 2009 season — and his 18 pass breakups was tied for sixth, even though he missed three games, one due to a concussion and two more due to a sprained ankle.
"Who else would win it if it's not Marshon?" Jordan said. "T.J.? Without mocking another player, nobody had the season that those two had. ... Tre (White) had a nice season, but he was in Buffalo."
Hunt and Kamara have been all over the Twin Cities making Super Bowl appearances this week, keeping busy schedules that have somewhat kept the focus off of the award announcement Saturday night.
As the week draws to a close, though, the Rookie of the Year award has become impossible to ignore — especially when Kamara was named the Pepsi Rookie of the Year by the fans Friday.
Sportswriters vote on the official Rookie of the Year awards, which makes it hard to handicap the race.
"You don't know," Hunt said. "Nobody knows. A bunch of rookies performed at a high level, and I've got a lot of respect for them."
Respect is one thing.
But both players are proud of the body of work they've put together this season, and both are hoping they find themselves on the stage at the NFL Honors show Saturday night with the trophy in hand.
"I don't know, we'll see," Kamara said. "I don't like to toot my own horn. Hopefully I get it. If I don't. ... Hopefully I get it."