SB Nation Rankings: The Vikings' Linebackers And Secondary

So, while we're waiting to find out just exactly what the heck happened with Adrian Peterson in the early hours of Saturday morning, let's get a little football talk in, shall we?

The folks at the SB Nation mothership have been ranking the various position groups of all 32 NFL teams. They started with the secondary. If you're a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, you know that it's a bit ugly back there (at least at the moment). In fact, SB Nation ranked the Vikings' safeties 31st out of 32 NFL teams, with only the Washington Redskins garnering a lower ranking.

Here's what they had to say about it.

Minnesota surprised draftniks when they traded back into the first round to get Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith. Regarded as the second-best safety in the draft, his skills are a perfect fit for a strong safety job, but the Vikings have him working at free safety. Second-year safety Mistral Raymond has the strong safety job. Jamarca Sanford was terrible last season, and will have to hold off rookie Robert Blanton, another Notre Dame safety, for the third spot on the depth chart.

As much as we like Blanton, I would be surprised if the starters at safety for Week 1 (barring injury) were a combination other than Mistral Raymond and Harrison Smith. Raymond showed some decent skills towards the end of last season when he was getting some time, and the Vikings didn't trade back up to get Smith so he could sit on the bench.

Cornerbacks and linebackers after the jump!

The cornerback situation in Minnesota is slightly better, where the Vikings have been ranked 27th out of 32 teams.

A broken collar bone kept Winfield off the field most of last season. He enters this year, at age 35, as Minnesota's top corner. Chris Cook being found not guilty on domestic violence charges this spring was the equivalent of a free agent addition for Minnesota. He has talent, if he can stay focused. Signing former Raven Chris Carr bolsters the depth chart, and third-round pick Josh Robinson has potential.

Obviously, I think that his unit has a chance to be much better than this. Consider that these were the Vikings' top five corners for the 2011 season finale against the Chicago Bears (in no particular order):

-Cedric Griffin
-Asher Allen
-Benny Sapp
-Marcus Sherels
-Brandon Burton

Barring injury, here's who the top five corners will likely be when the Vikings kick off the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 9:

-Antoine Winfield
-Chris Cook
-Chris Carr
-Josh Robinson
-Zackary Bowman/Sherels/Burton (whoever wins that battle in camp)

Seems to me to be a significant step up in talent and experience at most spots in the secondary there. But, again, it remains to be seen.

They're a bit more impressed with the linebacking corps. . .more so than even some of us Vikings fans are. According to SB Nation, the Vikings' linebackers stack up in the top half of the league, coming in at 15th-best.

Minnesota has two of the better 4-3 outside linebackers in the league right now with Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson. The later graded out as the third best run stopper among 4-3 outside linebackers last season according to Pro Football Focus. Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley missed June minicamp, and after missing all of last season, his injuries are a concern. Tyrone McKenzie, a Tampa castoff, is Brinkley's backup.

This might be a bit optimistic, given that Brinkley has now turned into a bit of a question mark with his nagging groin hip injuries. But Brinkley played well when he stepped in for E.J. Henderson at the end of the 2009 season, and if he's healthy this rating could be much more justifiable.

I'm guessing the defensive lines will be ranked next. . .that's one that Viking fans should expect to see our team towards the top of the list of.

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