Over at my blog I've put up the 2nd of four articles in an attempt to come up with the Ultimate Power Ranking. This was totally inspired by Pete Prisco's lame attempt at a Pre-Season ranking. The original article is very lengthy and I'm not going to do a simple copy/paste job here. But since the first one received some good feedback, I wanted to continue to share them with you all, so here are the most relevant bits. Part 1 was a ranking of every offense in the NFL, and this part will cover defense. Part 3 will cover special teams, and finally part 4 puts it all together for the "Ultimate Power Ranking." First, the premise:
This Ultimate Power Ranking is not my prediction for how each team will finish the 2013 season. Rather, it is a Power Ranking of where the teams are as of this moment. Using the end-of-regular-season data from 2012, and taking into account free agency and the draft, this power ranking takes into account every team’s current depth chart, as posted on ESPN. I have ranked every starter listed on the depth charts, and then simply added up every ranking number to come up with a “team” total. So teams with more highly ranked players will have a higher overall score.
And since I'm sure that most of you only care about the Vikings, here is where they ranked and what I said about the defense:
10. Minnesota Vikings 488
Rounding out the Top 10, we have the Vikings defense. While they are lacking elite playmakers at the top end of the rankings, they have very few weaknesses. If you had to guess which player on defense had the highest ranking, which would it be? The answer might be surprising; as that distinction belongs to #9 ranked rotational starter and defensive tackle Fred Evans. It remains to be seen if he’ll be the Week 1 starter alongside #11 ranked tackle Kevin Williams or if it will be worst ranked tackle in the NFL Letroy Guion, but Evans has been getting some starter’s reps in OTAs the past few weeks, and coaches are pushing for him to get more looks. The linebacker corp is led by #17 ranked Erin Henderson who will slide over to the middle, but has a weak link in rookie Gerald Hodges, ranked #32. The secondary is still the weakest link with two very low ranked cornerbacks in #34 Chris Cook and #64 rookie Xavier Rhodes. The safeties look quite a bit better than in recent years with #14 ranked Harrison Smith and #18 ranked Jamarca Sanford. Cornerback and Linebacker are pretty clearly the two weakest links, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise since there are rookies starting at both positions. But despite that, this team is stocked with above average talent. If the rookies can impress right away, the sky is the limit for this defense.
If you read the first post on offense, then you can see that I'm much higher on the Vikings defense than I am the offense. That said, if I followed the ESPN depth chart loyally, then Letroy Guion would be the starter instead of Fred Evans, and if that were the case, this defense would fall from #10 all the way to #20! So the defense has a LOT riding on what they will get out of their 1-technique defensive tackle. My money is on a rotation between Fred Evans and Letroy Guion, with Evans getting the bulk of the starts. But, like I said above, if Gerald Hodges and Xavier Rhodes can prove themselves on the field, this defense could climb higher.
For reference, the Chicago ranked #2, Green Bay ranked tied for 12th and Detroit ranked 21st. Pittsburgh had the #1 overall defense, while Jacksonville had the league's worst defense. Check out the full article link above for more details on the rest of the NFL, and I'll post parts 3 and 4 as I finish them!