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Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings, Mid-Season Edition

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Hannah Foslien

Back on the eve of the regular season, I put together my pre-season Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings. Basically, I went down the roster from 1 to 53 and ranked the players based on what I thought their importance to the team would be. Now that we're halfway through the regular season, it's time to revisit that.

This is significantly tougher than the pre-season version, in my opinion. . .the pre-season version was more or less based on who I thought would have the most impact on the Vikings' season. Now, I'm attempting to strike a bit of a balance between what people have done so far and what I think they're going to do for the rest of the season. For a guy like Kyle Rudolph, who is obviously a guy that has a lot of impact on the team but has missed most of the season, it's kind of tough to strike that balance. But, I'm going to make the effort to do so here.

With that, here are your Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings, Mid-Season Edition.

Rank Player Previous Change Comments
1 Harrison Smith 6 +5 The Vikings' pass defense is now #4 in the NFL, which is impressive given the Murderer's Row of quarterbacks they've faced this season. Obviously, not all of that can be attributed to Smith's return, but it's certainly played a big role. He's been the team's best and most consistent player through the first half of the year.
2 Everson Griffen 10 +8 Remember when Rick Spielman was all crazypants for giving Griffen all that money? Yeah. . .neither do I. The NFL's Defensive Player of the Month for October is showing why the Vikings thought he was worth the investment so far.
3 Anthony Barr 17 +14 We knew that Barr had outstanding athletic ability, but nobody could have expected him to come around so quickly. He's on the short list for Defensive Rookie of the Year so far, as has the look of a long-term defensive cornerstone.
4 Sharrif Floyd 15 +11 Floyd is one of a number of players that has blossomed under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer. He has shown himself to be a disruptive force against the run and the pass, and has formed a fine 1-2 punch with Griffen on the defensive line.
5 John Sullivan 2 -3 The only player on the Vikings' offensive line that really hasn't spent time this season masquerading as a turnstile. If the offensive line is going to solidify at any point, they'll do so around Sullivan, who is still one of the premiere players in the league at his position.
6 Jerick McKinnon 35 +29 For a guy that was thrust into a relatively bad situation, McKinnon has responded very well. He's shown himself to be a dynamic, potentially game-breaking threat, and as his vision improves, he will become that much more dangerous.
7 Josh Robinson 33 +26 Of all the big stories on the Vikings' defense this season, the renaissance of Josh Robinson might be the most interesting. After a season where the Vikings tried to put him in a role (slot CB) that he clearly wasn't equipped for, he has shown a lot of the ability he flashed as a rookie, and is the team's best cover corner at this point.
8 Tom Johnson 36 +28 Hey, so who had Tom Johnson with the team's second-highest sack total halfway through the season? My guess would be "nobody," but that's exactly where he is right now. One of the team's elder statesmen, he may have found a home after bouncing, literally, around the globe to this point in his career.
9 Cordarrelle Patterson 3 -6 Part of me wants to put Patterson further down on the list than this, as he really hasn't made "the leap" that many of us expected him to. Then I remember that he's still one of the NFL's most dangerous threats with the ball in his hands and think that, if he's past his hip injury, he could have a repeat of his second half of 2013.
10 Phil Loadholt 4 -6 The team's second-best lineman so far, he's had his struggles in the passing game, but is still a road-grader in the run game, which is what his forte has always been.
11 Blair Walsh 24 +13 A kicker this high on the list? Well, yeah. . .Walsh is one of the NFL's best, and has shown that throughout this season. Think of the drop-off there would be if the Vikings had to sign someone off the street to replace him.
12 Xavier Rhodes 11 -1 Rhodes has shown everything it takes to be a top-notch corner in the NFL so far, but still has the occasional badly-timed penalty that prevents him from being higher on the list at this point. That seems to be his only real weakness halfway through his second season.
13 Brian Robison 5 -8 Robison has gotten plenty of hurries this year, but his sack numbers aren't what they have been. He continues to be solid against the run, and if players like Griffen and Floyd continue to garner more attention, he could be the beneficiary.
14 Linval Joseph 8 -6 Joseph and Robison are sort of in the same boat here. . .their drops aren't necessarily because they've been bad or anything. . .it's just that some of their fellow defensive line mates have really exceeded expecations. Joseph has actually been better against the pass this year than the run, but I'd expect that to even out as the season wears on.
15 Kyle Rudolph 9 -6 Obviously has missed a lot of time this year, but is expected to be back after the bye. Rudolph was expected to be a big part of this offense going into the year, and his return will probably open things up quite a bit for the rest of the offense.
16 Teddy Bridgewater 23 +7 Bridgewater has shown flashes of brilliance so far this season. He's also had plenty of down moments. Basically, he's playing like a rookie quarterback behind a bad offensive line. . .which is fine, because that's what he is. His development is going to be one of the bigger stories of this season going forward.
17 Greg Jennings 12 -5 Jennings, like the rest of the offense, has dropped off quite a bit from last year to this one. I would expect him to have a significantly better second half as he and Bridgewater develop more chemistry and Kyle Rudolph takes some heat off of him
18 Gerald Hodges 38 +20 Did a pretty good job while stepping in for Chad Greenway earlier this year, but has missed a couple of games with injuries of his own. Should probably be a full-time starter, but the coaches want Greenway out there. Why? Heck, I don't know.
19 Captain Munnerlyn 13 -6 Got off to a slow start this year, but has come around over the past couple of weeks. You could make a pretty convincing argument that he should be the #3 corner behind Rhodes and Josh Robinson, but he's still listed as a starter. We'll have to see if that trend continues.
20 Jasper Brinkley 20 +/-0 The Vikings knew what they were getting in Brinkley when they brought him back this off-season, and that's exactly what he's been. . .a thumper against the run that has limitations in pass coverage. In the Mike Zimmer scheme, however, that's what he's been asked to do, and he's done it well.
21 Jarius Wright 26 +5 This season, Wright has been what he's been over the past couple of years. . .he's had some big moments (the game against Atlanta) with long stretches where he's disappeared. He's dangerous if teams don't account for him, and hopefully he can gain some consistency going forward.
22 Robert Blanton 22 +/-0 A lot of people will think of Robert Blanton as the guy that got ragdolled by Jimmy Graham and Eddie Lacy (among others) earlier in the season, but he has been a pretty solid complement to Harrison Smith so far this year, for the most part. He's a guy you'd like to upgrade from, sure, but he's not getting this team killed so far or anything, I don't think.
23 Charlie Johnson 21 -2 No longer the "weakest link" on the offensive line, but not through any fault of his own. We'll get to the reason why in a minute. Still, like the rest of the Vikings' offensive line, he hasn't been very good this year, and might be in his last year in purple.
24 Jerome Felton 19 -5 Felton is still a very good fullback, but the Vikings simply haven't asked him to do that much of it this year. He has only played 95 of the Vikings' 552 snaps this season.
25 Chad Greenway 16 -9 Greenway wasn't playing well before his injury, and he hasn't played well since his return. That goes for both pass coverage and run support. He's almost certainly in his last year in Minnesota, and while he's been great for the team in the past, it appears that he just doesn't have it any more.
26 Rhett Ellison 32 +6 One of the league's best run-blocking tight ends, he continues to find ways to contribute to the Vikings' offense. He's not a guy you hear a whole lot about, but has proven to be more than capable at what the Vikings have asked him to do.
27 Chase Ford NR N/A Has stepped in quite ably for Kyle Rudolph since coming back from his foot injury. Doesn't have nearly the same athletic ability as Rudolph does, but has shown an ability to get open when the team needs him. Has also done a very good job in run blocking thus far.
28 Matt Kalil 14 -14 In the nine seasons I've been writing about the Vikings for DN, Matt Kalil is on the short list of most frustrating players on the team. Seriously, we're at Troy Williamson levels of "WTF" with Kalil. . .the difference being that, unlike Williamson, Kalil has shown flashes of being able to be a great player. I really wish someone could figure out what the issue is, because it would go a long way towards fixing the rest of the offense.
29 Shamar Stephen 37 +8 Stephen has been a very solid rotation player for the Vikings as a rookie. You can't ask for a whole lot more out of a seventh-rounder than that. I'm not sure how many opportunities he'll get going forward, but he's made the most of the ones he's had so far.
30 Joe Berger 28 -2 Appears to have supplanted Vladimir Ducasse at right guard, which is a positive for the Vikings, in my opinion. He's shown that he's capable when he's been called upon over the past couple of years, and hopefully that will continue for the rest of 2014.
31 Marcus Sherels 29 -2 Sherels appears to be having a lot of issues this year in the punt return game, fielding punts he has no business fielding and letting punts go that he shouldn't. Still, he's had a couple of big returns wiped out by penalties, and still has the ability to be one of the league's best at that position.
32 Matt Asiata 30 -2 Asiata still has plenty to offer the team as a short-yardage option, but is probably going to continue losing carries to Jerick McKinnon as the season wears on. The team also seems to have a weird obsession with trying to run him out on the edge that I'll probably never understand, but hey. . .they're the coaches and I'm some guy writing about the team
33 Corey Wootton 27 -6 Wootton has done some good things this year, but has had limited opportunities thanks to the performance of the other players on the defensive line. If anything should happen to Robison or Griffen, he's a nice guy to have waiting in the wings.
34 Mike Harris 50 +16 Has shown his worth by stepping into the right guard spot during the Buffalo game and holding up nicely, despite not having played guard for years. Could offer some significant flexibility in light of that performance.
35 Audie Cole 25 -10 OMG AUDIE COLE hasn't gotten a whole lot of chances this season, as he's only played 17 snaps on defense. However, like Harris, he's a nice option to have available if someone ahead of him on the depth chart should go down.
36 Charles Johnson NR N/A Appears to be your new #4 wide receiver, and has shown an ability to get open deep. Could end up being a real find for the Vikings if he can develop something with Bridgewater. Definitely not a finished product yet.
37 Andrew Sendejo 31 -6 Still serves as a core special teamer for the Vikings, and is the team's next option at safety if something should happen to Smith or Blanton.
38 Cullen Loeffler 45 +7 Let's show the long snapper some love. Screw-ups from Loeffler are few and far between.
39 Jabari Price 39 +/-0 Another seventh-rounder that has done pretty well for himself in Minnesota, he would probably slide into the #3 corner role if anything were to happen to Rhodes, Munnerlyn, or Robinson. Has actually acquitted himself pretty well in limited action.
40 Shaun Prater 34 -6 Looks at roster page. . .yes, I can confirm that Shaun Prater is still on the team, even though he has not seen one snap on defense this year.
41 Michael Mauti 47 +6 Has looked awfully good on special teams this season, but you have to wonder if he's ever going to get a shot on defense with this team.
42 Antone Exum 49 +7 Seems to be good for at least one facepalm-worthy special teams penalty a game lately. Hopefully he can curb that in the future.
43 Christian Ponder 42 -1 A high-character guy, it's pretty obvious that Ponder's time in Minnesota is rapidly drawing to a close. His start against the Packers was cringe-worthy, even given the adverse situation he was placed in. One guy that I'll sincerely wish the best for going forward.
44 Vladimir Ducasse 40 -4 Was thrust into duty after the injury to Brandon Fusco and. . .well, it's been ugly so far. Now back to the second team, which is probably a good thing.
45 Adam Thielen 41 -4 The playing time, at least on offense, really hasn't materialized for Thielen. He's been a very good run blocking wide receiver, but now appears to be the #5 guy on the depth chart.
46 Andrew Wentworth NR N/A Minnesota brought him back to the practice squad after an up-and-down pre-season, and injuries have put him on the active roster. Hasn't seen any action thus far.
47 Jeff Locke 44 -3 Really hasn't been very good this year, for the most part. Had real issues with placement in the Tampa Bay game and cost the Vikings a lot of field position. May be punting for his job over the next eight games.
48 Scott Crichton 43 -5 Has only been active a couple of times this season. Kind of a disappoinment for a guy that was taken in the third round.
49 MarQueis Gray 48 -1 The former Gopher hasn't done a whole lot since returning to the Vikings. The return of Kyle Rudolph just figures to cut into his playing time that much more.
50 Joe Banyard NR N/A After a very good pre-season, went to the practice squad and now to the active roster. Hasn't been asked to do a whole lot.
51 Zach Line 53 +2 Went from the active roster to unemployed to the practice squad and now back to the active roster. Backup fullback on a team that really doesn't use a fullback very much.
52 Brandon Watts 52 +/-0 If memory serves me correctly, he's yet to be active this year. Doesn't leave a guy with much to say
53 David Yankey 51 -2 A player that a lot of us had high hopes for going into the season. Not sure what the issue has been, but even with the offensive line issues the Vikings have had this season, Yankey has yet to even be active on game day.
NR Adrian Peterson 1 N/A In my initial set of rankings, I said that Peterson was the man until he decided he didn't want to be the man anymore. Well, you'll never guess what happened. . .
NR Brandon Fusco 7 N/A Fusco's injury was absolutely huge for the Vikings, as he had just signed a big contract extension prior to being injured and was on his way to, perhaps, being the team's best offensive lineman. Hopefully he can overcome his injury and come back strong in 2015.
NR Matt Cassel 18 N/A Cassel had one good game and one terrible one prior to his injury. With one year left on his new contract at a cost of about $5 million, it will be interesting to see if the Vikings bring him back next season to be the veteran presence behind Bridgewater.

So, that's what I have for this mid-season edition of our Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings. Who's too high? Who's too low? We'll be revisiting this after the season is over as well.