I promise to get back into the 53-man roster breakdown tomorrow. . .it's been a pretty hectic day over on this end when it comes to "real world" stuff. Just thought I'd hit a couple of tidbits here.
First off, as Robert Rence pointed out over in the FanPosts yesterday, the Vikings were able to recind their waiving of Erasmus James and, instead, trade him to the Washington Redskins for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2009. The "condition," apparently, is that he makes the team. Well, it's better than nothing. . .I don't see how he's going to pass another team's physical if he couldn't pass Minnesota's (you would think they'd be similar), but that's not for me to decide.
Also, Pete Prisco from CBS Sportsline has given us his annual list of the most overrated and underrated players on each NFL team. His nominees for the Vikings?
Overrated: LT Bryant McKinnie. You look at his physical skills and you should see an elite tackle. You just don't. He's OK, but has never lived up to the hype.
Underrated: LB E.J Henderson. He moved back to the middle last season and showed he's there to stay. He is a big reason the Vikings played the run so well in 2007.
Hard to argue with the "overrated" choice. McKinnie has always been an outstanding run blocker (even before the addition of Steve Hutchinson), but an "elite" left tackle shouldn't get constantly abused by speed rushers the way that he does. He should be able to handle those sorts of players. . .hell, he gets paid a great deal of money to handle those sorts of players. It would be nice if he would start doing it eventually.
The underrated choice, however, might be a bone of some contention. Not because E.J. Henderson isn't a great player, because he most certainly is. He showed that last season. I say that because that people now KNOW that E.J. Henderson is a great player, and for that reason he sort of ceases being underrated. It's sort of like when Hines Ward was the "most underrated receiver in football" for roughly ten straight years. I don't know if someone's underratedness can become overrated, but that was a case where it certainly could have.
(And, honestly, I'm not sure who was underrating Hines Ward all that time. I've always thought he was a heck of a receiver.)
So who's the most underrated Viking? My nominee would probably have to be one of Henderson's fellow linebackers, Mr. Ben "Ach Du" Leber. On a defense that's loaded with talent at all three levels, Leber doesn't get a heck of a lot of hype. . .he just goes out every week and does a hell of a job. He tied for the Vikings' lead in sacks in 2007 (including the one on Eli Manning at Giants Stadium that should have had the theme music from The Benny Hill Show playing in the background), threw in an incredibly athletic interception in the game at Chicago, defended passes, and was rarely out of position.
Leber might not get the ink that Henderson does. . .shoot, he probably doesn't even get the ink that Chad Greenway does. . .but, in my opinion, he's just as big a part of the Vikings' defense as either of those other two starting linebackers, and would definitely be my pick for most underrated Viking. My runner-up in that category would probably have to go to Chris Kluwe.
What do you think? Who are your selections for the most overrated and underrated members of the Beloved Purple? Discuss in yonder comments section, and we'll be back tomorrow with our continued breakdown of this season's 53-man roster.