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Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings, Mid-Season Edition

If you'll recall, I did this last year at the mid-season point and at the end of the season.  Yes, I know we're not "technically" at the mid-season point yet, but we're pretty close to it, and I don't think one game is going to change these that much anyway.

Now, these aren't "official" or "scientific" or anything like that.  They're my take on how the players that the Minnesota Vikings have put on the field this season have performed.  I'm anxious to hear what some of you folks think about these. . .should be a good topic for discussion.

So, without any further ado, here are your mid-season Minnesota Vikings Power Rankings:

Player Power Rankings


1 Kevin Williams, DT The beast is back, and he's again showing why he's considered by many to be the best all-around DT in the National Football League.  He's the team leader in sacks with 6, which also puts him in a tie for #6 in the league in that category, and he's again an anchor of what will be the NFL's best run defense.
2 Adrian Peterson, RB With LaDanian Tomlinson finally showing some signs of wear, the mantle of "Best Running Back in the NFL" now rests squarely on the shoulders of All Day.  He's on pace to eclipse the numbers from his outstanding rookie season, and only two running backs in NFL history reached 2,000 career yards faster than he did.  And he's only going to continue getting better.
3 Antoine Winfield, CB After some. . .including myself. . .questioned some of his ability last season, he's come back this year with a vengeance.  He's got two sacks that forced two fumbles and led to two momentum-changing touchdowns in Viking victories, and he's been playing lights-out coverage for most of the year.
4 Jared Allen, DE Has he been everything that he was advertised to be?  Well, almost. . .he has five sacks on the season, and has been demanding the double teams that have opened Kevin Williams up to have the monster season that he's been having to this point.  He's also among the league leaders in QB pressures, which are always helpful.  Look for him to pick it up even more in the second half.
5 Steve Hutchinson, G Another Viking, along with Williams and Peterson, that carries the title of best in the NFL at his position.  This is his third season as a member of the Vikings, and he's still worth every penny.  Meanwhile, Nate Burleson is still a glorified kick returner and went on IR after Week 1 this year.  Boy, the Seahawks sure got us good with that poison pill, didn't they?
6 Bernard Berrian, WR After the first two games of the year, I didn't think that #87 would be anywhere near this high on the list.  However, as of now, he's on pace for nearly 1,200 yards and has given the Vikings a couple of huge plays since the quarterback switch took place.  He's another guy that will look like a bargain in a couple of seasons.
7 Pat Williams, DT Phat Pat has been fairly quiet this season. . .of course, for him, "quiet" is a relative term.  He's still the Immovable Object to Kevin Williams' Irresistible Force, and continues to make every play he's asked to make in the running game.
8 Ryan Longwell, K He's still amazingly consistent, he still doesn't miss from 45 yards and in, and he might still be the Vikings' most consistent offensive weapon that doesn't have the name "Peterson" on his jersey.  With the way Brad Childress' "Kick Ass Offense" runs most weeks, you have to be happy to have a reliable guy like Longwell to turn to.
9 Matt Birk, C Still among the best in the league at his position, and still makes pretty good calls at the line.  You have to wonder whether or not this will be his last season with the Vikings.  I have a sneaky suspicion that it just might be.
10 Ben Leber, LB Going into his third season as Minnesota's most overlooked, most unheralded defensive player.  Has been a leader on the defense since he's been here, and that role has only increased with the injury to E.J. Henderson.  You won't hear his name much, but that's pretty much because he never gets beaten or finds himself out of position.
11 Visanthe Shiancoe, TE Surprised to see him this high on the list?  Me, too, quite frankly.  It only took him about 20 games or so to get himself established, but since the change at quarterback, he's catching more passes and been infinitely more effective.  He could be developing into a real weapon for the Vikings' offense.
12 Gus Frerotte, QB Since becoming the starter, Gus has been basically the same quarterback he's been his entire career.  He has moments and games where you think he's capable of being the guy for the long haul (see the New Orleans game), and then he has moments and games that remind you of why he's been a backup for most of his NFL career (see the Chicago game).  Sadly, that still makes him more consistent than Tarvaris Jackson, and that's what the Vikings need at the QB position right now.
13 Tyrell Johnson, S Another nice surprise for the Vikings.  With Madieu Williams being out, teams have largely avoided Darren Sharper and tried to go after the rookie from Arkansas State, and he's been equal to the task thus far.  He'll make a nice replacement for Sharper, who will probably be gone after this season.
14 Darren Sharper, S As I said above, this is probably the last season in Minnesota for the best safety in Green Bay Packer history.  He may have finally lost that step that Packer fans have been convinced that he lost three years ago.  No interceptions this season yet for #42, but I can't help put think that will change as the season goes on.
15 Artis Hicks, OL You know, considering the guys he was lined up across from in the Vikings' first four games, he really didn't perform that badly.  He wasn't great or anything, but then again, you could say the same thing about. . .
16 Bryant McKinnie, OT . . .the guy he was standing in for.  Seriously. . .have I been the only one that's noticed that the offense really hasn't been THAT drastically different with McKinnie at LT than it was with Hicks lined up over there?
17 Chad Greenway, LB Still a fine athlete with a knack for the big play. . .but, strangely enough, there are still times where the guy looks completely lost in coverage.  He's in his third year. . .he really needs to cut down on those sort of incidents.
18 Bobby Wade, WR Actually leads the Vikings in receptions this season with 30, and his on his way to eclipsing his stats from last season when he was the "#1 wide receiver."  Still a very good YAC receiver, and can be counted on most times to the a first down when the Vikings need one.
19 Anthony Herrera, G To be honest, I haven't heard his name very many times this year, either.  For an offensive lineman, this can only be considered a good thing.
20 Ryan Cook, OT Same for Cook. . .he's certainly not an elite right tackle by any stretch, but he's not getting regularly abused, either.  Still, you can't help but have the nagging feeling that both parts of the right side of the line could use an upgrade.
21 Ray Edwards, DE Only needs to average about 2.5 sacks per game from here on out to break Michael Strahan's single-season record.  "It will be interesting to see if he can do it," the author said sarcastically.
22 Naufahu Tahi, FB With as many times as he's thrown to in this offense, you'd think that he'd be the Vikings' leading receiver.  He's averaging an amazingly low 2.2 yards/catch, but he has provided decent blocking to this point.  And his name is still fun to say.
23 Chester Taylor, RB It saddens me that I have to put Taylor this far down on the list.  However, for reasons that I'm really not sure of, he's not being used in the offense this year nearly as much as he should be.  He's only had 10 carries or more in two different games this year, and hasn't rushed for more than 44 yards in a game this season.  He's still catching the ball well, but I still think he needs to be used more frequently.  I love Adrian Peterson as much as anyone, but #29 shouldn't be getting ignored like this.
24 Fred Evans, DT Has provided some pretty decent relief for the Williams' boys when he's rotated in.  Had the bonehead play in Chicago that made a end-of-half field goal attempt five yards closer than it needed to be, but otherwise has been relatively solid.
25 Cedric Griffin, CB When you think of somebody being "lost in coverage," Griffin is the first guy that should come to mind.  Part of the reason that Antoine Winfield is having the season he is comes from the fact that, when Griffin is on the field, teams have no reason at all to throw Winfield's direction.  I still think that Griffin could be an elite NFL safety, but it looks like the Vikings want to have Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams at the position for the long haul.  It will be interesting to see what Griffin's Vikings future holds.
26 Chris Kluwe, P You have to wonder if the guy's head isn't completely messed up at this point.  The punt returns for TDs, the bungled snap in Chicago, Brad Childress bringing in punters to try out during the week.  I still think he's a pretty decent punter, but he may have had more screw-ups this season than in his entire Minnesota career, and we're not even to the half way mark.
27 Jim Kleinsasser, TE North Dakota's favorite son is still a killer in-line blocker, and his 34-yard reception against the Lions a couple weeks ago flashed us back to what he used to be capable of.  One of the guys that I hope that this franchise always has room for in some capacity.
28 Tarvaris Jackson, QB Well, what can I say. . .except that I was wrong about this guy.  I doubt that he'll ever take another meaningful snap for the Minnesota Vikings, which in a way is kind of sad.  He's still got a world of physical ability, and he appears to be relatively smart.  He just got thrown into the fire way too soon.  It will be interesting to see if he catches on with another team (because I don't think he'll be here next year) and, if so, how he does under the direction of a real NFL coach.
29 Brian Robison, DE Another guy that really, really needs to get on the field more often.  There's a very good chance that he's better than Ray Edwards, although Edwards remains the starting DE across from Jared Allen.  I like Robison's intensity, and hope he starts seeing more playing time in the near future.
30 Marcus Johnson, OT Has actually been pretty good when called upon, making him the only member of Minnesota's 2005 draft class to be worth a damn at the NFL level.
31 Charles Gordon, CB Has performed ably as the nickel back this season, but hasn't shown much as a punt returner, other than an inability to get the hell away from the football when it's going to bounce inside the 10-yard line.  Yeah, I'm still miffed about that play.
32 Vinny Ciurciu, LB Actually didn't perform too horribly as MLB when called upon, other than getting penalized on a 4th and goal play against the Bears for getting pushed down by Desmond Clark.  But, honestly, we don't want him out there at MLB.
33 David Herron, LB Had two games where he started in place of E.J. Henderson, and then got hurt.  Wasn't terrible, but wasn't great either.  Good depth, but probably won't ever be a full-time guy.
34 Aundrae Allison, WR Hasn't gotten quite the chances I had hoped that he would this season, and has inexplicably been stripped of his returner duties.  I, personally, don't understand. . .but that's probably why I don't run an NFL franchise or anything.
35 Cullen Loeffler, LS Hey. . .when's the last time you remember seeing a bad snap?  And don't say "last week against Chicago."  That snap was perfectly fine.
36 Sidney Rice, WR Yes, it pains me to put him here.  But, the reality is that he's missed 4 or 5 straight games with a knee injury.  He's been alright when he's been on the field, but he's developing a reputation for being soft.  The Vikings NEED him on the field, and he hasn't been there.
37 Husain Abdullah, S Looks like he might be our team leader in special teams tackles.  For a guy that I didn't even project to make the roster, that's pretty good.
38 Eric Frampton, S Hasn't come alive the way I had hoped.  Yes, I will run that joke completely and thoroughly into the ground.  Thank you for asking.
39 Otis Grigsby, DE Haven't really noticed him much this season.  Not surprising, since he only has one tackle through seven games and has been inactive a couple of times.
40 Garrett Mills, TE Was the Vikings' leading receiver in the season opener with 3 catches for 49 yards.  Has 1 catch for 10 yards since.  Maybe we bought into the hype too quickly.
41 Benny Sapp, CB Decent enough in coverage, but I wonder what, exactly, it is that he does that. . .
42 Marcus McCauley, CB . . .couldn't do.  McCauley looked like he was really starting to come on at the end of last season, but has spent most of this year on the inactive list.  Another one I don't understand.
43 Maurice Hicks, RB I remember why I hated the Hicks signing now.  It's because he didn't make us appreciably better at any spot on the field.  He's not a great kick returner, he doesn't return punts, and he's not a very good RB.  Other than that, great signing by Minnesota.
44 Erin Henderson, LB The thing that people remember about Henderson the younger this season is seeing him get absolutely clocked on one of Reggie Bush's punt returns for a TD against the Saints.  I really have nothing else to add here
45 Jeff Dugan, TE Spent most of the year inactive. . .really hasn't done a whole lot when he's been on the field.  Not a lot to say.
46 Robert Ferguson, WR Yes, I know. . .veteran leadership, blocking, yadda yadda yadda.  Seriously, we could have kept Martin Nance here.
47 John Sullivan, C Has been active for every game this year.  Can't say that I've noticed.  Have you?
48 Ellis Wyms, DT I know he's been on the field, but he's yet to register any sort of a stat this season.  I haven't seen anyone do that since the glory days of Chris Hovan.
Non-Ranked Players/Incomplete Grades


NA E.J. Henderson, LB With the level he was playing at prior to his injury, he probably would have been #1 on this list if he was still healthy.  The guy's a monster in the middle, and is already sorely missed by the Minnesota defense.
NA Madieu Williams, S Williams says that he "hopes to play" against the Texans coming out of the bye.  I've been hoping to see him play since we signed him in March.  Hopefully he can help shore up the pass defense a little more.
NA Heath Farwell, LB If you don't think losing a special teams leader can make a big difference, look at the special teams coverage last year WITH Farwell, and then this year without him.  A bigger loss than even we could have imagined during the pre-season.
NA Dontarrious Thomas, LB Well, he's familiar with the system, so it will be interesting to see how the Vikings use him.
NA Napoleon Harris, LB Same story as Thomas.  Started at MLB against the Bears and got worked over pretty good.  We'll have to see if he's better adjusted after the bye week.
NA Drew Radovich, OL Appeared to be stricken with "Hey, we want you on the team, but we really don't have a spot for you at the moment, so hang out on IR"-itis.  That's my diagnosis, anyway.  I'm not a doctor or anything.
NA John David Booty, QB Inactive all season as the #3 QB.  With the way he looked in the pre-season, I can only consider this a blessing in disguise.
NA Letroy Guion, DT Inactive most of the season.  Hasn't done much.
NA Jayme Mitchell, DE It would have been nice to have him around to work into the line rotation.
NA Michael Boulware, S IR'd in pre-season.  Hasn't seen the field as a Viking.
NA Kenderick Allen, DT IR'd in pre-season.  Hasn't seen the field as a Viking.
NA Thomas Tapeh, FB Pretty much epitomizes the Brad Childress era to this point.  Signed a 5-year contract, played in exactly two games, was inactive for a month, and then got cut.  Epic fail.  Probably wouldn't have been signed if the knee surgery he had in the off-season had been discovered.  Whether that's Tapeh's fault or Minnesota's fault is up for debate, but the end result is still bad for the Beloved Purple.

And there they are, folks. . .my take on the Vikings' roster to this point of the 2008 season.  Feel free to discuss, debate, agree, disagree, or whatever it is that you feel like doing with these.