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Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

I did this a few times back in the early days of the site, and as we're now on the eve of the regular season opener and the 53-man roster is pretty much set, I think I'm going to give it another go.

The "Player Power Rankings" is pretty much what it sounds like. . .one man's opinion of the Minnesota Vikings' 53-man roster, ranked from the top player on the team all the way down to the last guy. Now, obviously all of the players on the roster are immensely talented. . .if they weren't, they wouldn't be a part of the team. This is just my view on things.

We'll probably revisit this at mid-season, and again at the end of the season to see if things have changed. With that, here we go.

Rank Player Comment
1 Adrian Peterson Yep, he's still the man. And he's the man until he decides he's not the man anymore.
2 John Sullivan It might be a bit of a surprise to see him this high, but he's one of the best in the league and the anchor of this offensive line.
3 Cordarrelle Patterson The most exciting player to put on the purple and gold since. . .well, since Adrian Peterson. Big things are expected. . .hopefully he will deliver in spades.
4 Phil Loadholt When it comes to NFL right tackles, they don't get any better than Phil Loadholt.
5 Brian Robison After playing in Jared Allen's shadow for the past few years, Robison is now the leader of the Vikings' defensive line. He's been incredibly consistent over the years, and the Vikings' young, developing defensive line is going to need that from him again.
6 Harrison Smith The secondary is noticeably different without #22 at safety. In what promises to be a new, more aggressive defense, Smith will have more opportunities to show that he's a difference maker.
7 Brandon Fusco Another surprise? Not really. . .over the past couple of years, he's become one of the best at the guard position, and along with Loadholt forms what might be the best right-side in the league.
8 Linval Joseph The first true nose tackle the Vikings have had since Pat Williams retired. He's a monster of a man, demands double teams, and will help this defense against the run. Provides more pass rush than Phat Pat did, too.
9 Kyle Rudolph We've been over how much Norv Turner likes the tight end in his offense. Rudolph is young, healthy, and has a ton of money in his pocket. Don't be surprised if he lights it up.
10 Everson Griffen Speaking of money, Griffen is another guy that got a lot of it in the off-season. He's only started one NFL game, but the Vikings thought highly enough of him to back the Brinks truck up to his door. Might be under more pressure than any Viking to produce this year.
11 Xavier Rhodes Had a very promising rookie season, despite a rash of injuries, and led the team in passes defended. He's going to be asked to go up against the Murderer's Row of receivers in the NFC North. I think Mike Zimmer will make sure he's ready for it.
12 Greg Jennings Yes, he's always open, and with the emergence of Cordarrelle Patterson, probably won't be asked to be the #1 receiver any more. If his chemistry with Matt Cassel remains solid, he'll be in line for a better second season in Minnesota.
13 Captain Munnerlyn O Captain, my Captain! Munnerlyn was brought in to cure the Vikings' woes in the slot on defense, where they got absolutely destroyed in 2013. He'll start in the base defense as well, and should provide a significant upgrade.
14 Matt Kalil You're surprised to see him this low, I know. But he battled through injuries in 2013 and had what can charitably be described as a rough pre-season. If he can find himself closer to his 2012 form, he'll be much higher on this list when we revisit it in mid-season.
15 Sharrif Floyd Short-arm jokes aside, Floyd is expected to be one of the centerpieces of the Vikings' new defense. He's dropped a lot of weight and gotten himself into shape. Hopefully he will rebound from an up-and-down rookie campaign.
16 Chad Greenway Speaking of guys that are looking to rebound, look no further than Greenway. We've read all the articles about how Greenway is on the decline, but he's still one of the team's defensive leaders, and indications are that the new scheme is a better fit for him. We shall see.
17 Anthony Barr Barr showed a lot in the pre-season this year, and seems to be justifying the Vikings' selecting him with the ninth overall pick in this year's draft. Still, you have to wonder about his instincts at this point when the real bullets start flying. Remember, he's only been a defensive player for two years (three counting this one).
18 Matt Cassel Generally, it's kind of bad to have your starting quarterback this far down the list. Cassel is back on the team and did nothing to lose the starting quarterback job in camp. He has to hear the whispers that he's just "keeping the seat warm." How will he respond?
19 Jerome Felton We know that he's a devastating blocker from the fullback position. However, with the fullback position becoming increasingly irrelevant, one has to wonder how much of a role he's going to play in the offense this season.
20 Jasper Brinkley After playing for a year in Arizona, Brinkley is back again to man the middle of the Vikings' defense. A player that's always been better against the run than he's been in coverage, he's said that the Vikings' new defense is going to maximize his ability. Let's hope so.
21 Charlie Johnson Often referred to as the "weak link" on the team's offensive line. But, as Ted has frequently said, if Charlie Johnson is the worst player on your offensive line, your offensive line is pretty damn good. (And Minnesota's is.)
22 Robert Blanton Won the war of attrition to become the Vikings' starting strong safety. Had to sit out a lot of the pre-season with injury issues, and it will be interesting to see how he meshes with his former Golden Dome teammate at the safety spot.
23 Teddy Bridgewater Yes, I know. . .we all love Teddy. But he doesn't merit a spot above the starters at this point (who occupy the first 22 spots on the list). He's clearly shown that he belongs in the National Football League, and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he'll be starting before the season ends. Personally, I can't wait.
24 Blair Walsh For my money, still the best kicker in the National Football League. He's put in a lot of work to adjust to the winds at TCF Bank Stadium. I'm guessing that will pay off at some point.
25 Audie Cole OMG AUDIE COLE is a cult hero around these parts, and played admirably as a starter towards the end of 2013. Right now he's the backup in the middle, and should something happen to Jasper Brinkley, I don't think the drop-off is all that great, if there is one.
26 Jarius Wright Wright is one of those guys that seems like he's been on the verge of breaking out the past couple of years. He's the #3 receiver, which means he'll see plenty of snaps. Defenses don't seem to want to account for him, and hopefully he can continue to make them pay for that.
27 Corey Wootton Led the Vikings in sacks in the pre-season. He's playing on a one-year deal to prove himself after a rough 2013 season in Chicago. Should prove to be a capable backup and both defensive end spots and a solid part of the Vikings' rotation on the defensive line.
28 Joe Berger The top backup along the offensive line, he can play any of the three interior positions in an above average capacity. Pretty unheralded, but one of those guys you're happy to have on the team.
29 Marcus Sherels One of the NFL's best punt returners and a guy that seems to improve in coverage every year, Sherels is a local favorite that finds ways to keep hanging on. Can't help but root for the guy.
30 Matt Asiata Got a couple of starts at the end of last season and looked like Leroy Hoard v2.0 (if you need one yard, he'll get you three. . .if you need five yards, he'll get you three). Showed a lot more ability this pre-season, but it's still a huge drop-off if Adrian Peterson should go down again.
31 Andrew Sendejo Saw plenty of time in 2013 at the safety spot following the injury to Harrison Smith, and played pretty well, for the most part. He'll be the top backup at both safety spots. Plus, you have to love a guy whose arms have their own Twitter account.
32 Rhett Ellison He's not Jim Kleinsasser. . .and, seriously, who is. . .but Ellison is pretty good at what he does. Asked to move around between the fullback and in-line tight end position, Ellison has shown to be a very good blocker no matter where he's asked to line up.
33 Josh Robinson You know that thing I said about the Vikings' slot corners getting destroyed in 2013? Well, Robinson was the guy at the top of that list. Now moved back outside in nickel packages (with Munnerlyn moving inside), he has to show that his considerable athletic gifts can help him rebound.
34 Shaun Prater A young player that got time at the end of last season and acquitted himself relatively well, Prater is now practicing at safety as well. Mike Zimmer is familiar with Prater from his time in Cincinnati, and if he thinks that Prater can make the transition, I won't doubt him.
35 Jerick McKinnon A true athletic freak. . .seriously, Google "Jerick McKinnon SparQ" if you have time. . .McKinnon could end up playing a big role in the offense this year as a change of pace/third down back. An option quarterback in college, he seems to be making a smooth transition to the running back position.
36 Tom Johnson He's been everywhere, man. . .he's been everywhere. And now he's in Minnesota, where he showed some pretty decent push in the pre-season. One of the Vikings' older players, he might not see many snaps, but has shown that he can be effective.
37 Shamar Stephen Stephen got quite a bit of time in the pre-season in place of Linval Joseph, and was put on Mel Kiper's projected All-Rookie team. Hopefully he can continue his upward trend as the regular season gets underway.
38 Gerald Hodges Had a disappointing rookie campaign, to say the least, but seemed to rebound a bit in the pre-season. Will also serve as one of the team's core special teamers.
39 Jabari Price Price, another seventh-round choice that surprised, was actually mentioned by Mike Zimmer as a guy that will play quite a bit. He has the ability to play the slot, and if Josh Robinson should falter, Price will be waiting to jump into a larger role.
40 Vladimir Ducasse Was much maligned with the New York Jets in his early years in the league, but has found a home with the Vikings. Can play the tackle spot in a pinch. . .but, seriously, let's hope that it doesn't come to that.
41 Adam Thielen IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'M, I'M HOOKED ON A THIELEN! The star of training camp this year and a true "local kid does good" story, Thielen has shown that he's more than capable of jumping into the mix if called upon.
42 Christian Ponder Yep, he's still on the team. Don't you hate that? Ah, well. . .best #3 quarterback in the league, for what that's worth.
43 Scott Crichton Seemed to struggle for a lot of the pre-season, but certainly has the ability to make an impact. If anything should happen to Griffen or Robison, Crichton has to be ready to step up.
44 Jeff Locke Locke had a bit of a disappointing rookie season, but did seem to get better as the season went on. He, along with Walsh, will have to make the adjustment to playing the majority of their games outdoors.
45 Cullen Loeffler He's the long snapper. You don't notice him. Generally, this is a positive.
46 Rodney Smith Jerome Simpson's suspension is Smith's gain, as he got some extra opportunities to impress. . .and, for the most part, did just that. He's the #5 receiver for now, so he might not see a lot of snaps, but he's got the proverbial "size you can't teach."
47 Michael Mauti It kills me to celebrate Mauti Gras this late. It really does. But, he's the only one of the Vikings' seven linebackers listed in a third-string spot, and appears to be getting buried. Being injured again doesn't much help his case, either.
48 MarQueis Gray I'm incredibly interested to see how the Vikings are going to use Gray in this offense. With Norv Turner in Cleveland, he was primarily a tight end, but saw a few snaps as a Wildcat quarterback and averaged about seven yards/carry. Just another toy for NORV~! to play with.
49 Antone Exum Exum has the ability to play both corner and safety, though it appears the Vikings would prefer to keep him at the safety spot. A solid hitter from that spot, he might have to wait his turn to get a chance at the big time.
50 Mike Harris Harris, who started 12 games at tackle for the Chargers over the past couple of seasons, probably doesn't deserve to be ranked this low. But, like Gray, he just got to Minnesota, and it remains to be seen how much he'll be used early on.
51 David Yankey Another guy who probably doesn't deserve to be ranked this low, Yankey was seen as a steal in the fifth round of the draft, but started out behind the 8-ball as he couldn't go through most of the team's OTAs. He's still the heir apparent to Charlie Johnson, and there's a chance he could get that opportunity sooner rather than later.
52 Brandon Watts Watts struggled with injuries throughout the pre-season, but apparently showed enough to make the team. With his athletic ability, he could be outstanding on special teams, perhaps filling Larry Dean's old role. That's probably going to be his niche to start with.
53 Zach Line Line showed quite a bit in his first pre-season, and wound up on injured reserve. It's not that I think Zach Line is a bad player necessarily. . .he's not. He just seems a bit superfluous on a team that probably isn't going to feature the fullback a whole lot.
N/A Jerome Simpson You don't get ranked sitting at home. We'll see how Simpson reacts when he comes back from his suspension.

And there you have it, folks. Who's too high? Who's too low? What are your impressions overall?