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Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings, Final Edition

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the third and final installment (for this season, obviously) of your Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings. I did these both before the season and at mid-season, and we can use these to compare how various players have moved up and down the ranks over the course of the season.

I'm going to follow the same sort of thing for the season-ending rankings as I did for the mid-season ones. . .the players that finished the season on the 53-man roster will get the rankings of 1 through 53, while players that finished the season on injured reserve or things of a similar nature will get a N/A ranking (though there will be commentary provided on them).

So, with that, here are your final Minnesota Vikings Player Power Rankings for the 2014 NFL season.

Rank Player Mid-Season Pre-Season Commentary
1 Harrison Smith 1 6 "Harry the Hitman" is the best player on an up-and-coming young defense. The only player in the league with at least three interceptions (he had five) and at least three sacks, he's an outstanding defensive playmaker, and will be the leader of this defense for years to come. Only missed 10 defensive snaps all season, and eight of those came in one game.
2 Everson Griffen 2 10 More than justified the faith that Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer had in him when they gave him that huge contract this past off-season. Was equally as adept against the run as he was as a pass rusher this season, and showed amazing athleticism in blowing up plays.
3 Teddy Bridgewater 16 23 Too high? I don't think so. The entire Minnesota offense picked up their game as the season went on, and that's directly attributable to Bridgewater's development. He looks to he the long-term answer that the Vikings have been looking for since the Daunte Culpepper days.
4 Xavier Rhodes 12 11 After a bit of an up-and-down first half of the 2014 season, Rhodes was outstanding in the second half of the year. The Vikings trusted him to shadow the best receivers on other teams, and for the most part he was holding them in check. Along with Smith, another young cornerstone to build a secondary around.
5 Sharrif Floyd 4 15 Floyd actually had the highest overall grade of any Vikings player from Pro Football Focus, with a cumulative grade of +22.1. Had some issues with injuries down the stretch, and if he had stayed healthy he'd probably be even higher on this list, but appears to be blossoming under the eye of Mike Zimmer.
6 John Sullivan 5 2 It was a rough year for the entire Vikings' offensive line, and Sullivan was no different. Still, he remains one of the league's premier centers and the one player on the offensive front that the Vikings can really count on.
7 Greg Jennings 17 12 After a rough first half of the season, Jennings provided Teddy Bridgewater with a solid, reliable target during the second half of the season. He's got a big cap number for next year, and he'll no doubt be asked to renegotiate, but the more I think about it, the more surprised I'd be if he wasn't back next season.
8 Gerald Hodges 18 38 Even though the team seemed to keep looking for reasons not to put him on the field, he did a very nice job when asked to step in for both Anthony Barr or Chad Greenway. We knew the team liked his coverage skills, and he provided a whole lot more against the run than many expected, too.
9 Jarius Wright 21 26 Wright is one of those guys that may not have gotten as many chances as he should, but he certainly takes advantage of the ones he gets. His big catch-and-run in overtime against the Jets may have been the Vikings' play of the year, and he's another guy that seems to have a connection with Bridgewater.
10 Tom Johnson 8 36 After bouncing around the world prior to this season, Tom Johnson put together his best season as a professional for the Vikings. He's said he wants a longer-term deal as he enters free agency, but with him being on the wrong side of 30, it remains to be seen if the Vikings will be the team that gives it to him. Still, the team could do worse than bringing him back.
11 Charles Johnson 36 NR Charles Johnson started this season on the Cleveland Browns' practice squad. He finished the year as a starter at wide receiver and a guy that was realizing his potential. He's signed through 2016 with the Vikings, and it will be interesting to see how he develops going into 2015.
12 Josh Robinson 7 33 The disastrous game he had against Chicago at Soldier Field aside, the Josh Robinson story was still one of my favorites of 2014. He's going into a contract year, and the coaching staff obviously has quite a bit of faith in him. Hopefully he can build on what was, largely, a solid 2014.
13 Linval Joseph 14 8 Given the money he received from the team this off-season, we probably should have expected more from Joseph. Hopefully after another year in Mike Zimmer's defense, he and Sharrif Floyd can go back to wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.
14 Matt Asiata 32 30 This is probably too high for Asiata, and while the guy might never be a top running back, he did what he was asked, which was (mostly) finding the end zone when the Vikings got close. He's a restricted free agent this off-season, and I don't know if he'll be back.
15 Matt Kalil 28 14 Over the last five or six weeks of this season, Kalil was. . .not awful? I know that isn't terribly high praise, but after the way he looked in the first half of the season, it's better than nothing. Allowed just one sack over the final six weeks according to Pro Football Focus, and recently said that knee issues had played a role in his slump. Here's hoping he can get back to form in 2015.
16 Robert Blanton 22 22 Had a few bad starts during the first half of the season, but really seemed to step it up in the second half prior to his injury. It appears he lost the starting safety job to Andrew Sendejo, but will likely have a job to win it back this off-season.
17 Joe Berger 30 28 Another offensive lineman that was asked to step into the breach due to injuries, he did significantly better at it than the other players in the same situation. He's going to hit free agency, and it remains to be seen whether the team will bring him back.
18 Rhett Ellison 26 32 Very good chance he should be higher on the list, as the guy did a little bit of everything for the Vikings this season. He's a blocker, he's a pass catcher. . .teams need some Rhett Ellisons on the roster of they're going to be successful.
19 Jasper Brinkley 20 20 Yeah, Brinkley was right around the same all season. An old-school 4-3 middle linebacker, very good against the run but sketchy in coverage, and I'm not sure if or how he fits into the Vikings' defense in 2015 and beyond.
20 Brian Robison 13 5 Surprised to see him this low? He was the lowest-graded non-Greenway starter on defense this year by Pro Football Focus (-12.2), and had a couple of stretches of poor play over the course of the season. Will be interesting to see what the team does with him.
21 Chase Ford 27 NR Got his big opportunity when Kyle Rudolph got hurt, and responded by showing that he is a pretty good blocker as well as having a pretty good set of hands. Between Ellison, Rudolph, and Ford, this team should be set at the tight end spot for a while (health permitting, obviously).
22 Blair Walsh 11 24 I still think that Walsh is one of the NFL's best kickers, which makes his slump in the middle of the season that much stranger. Still, I have confidence that he'll be back to form by the beginning of next season.
23 Audie Cole 35 25 I don't want to oversell or undersell anything about his big finale against the Bears (because he did have a great game), but he really didn't do anything on defense in 14 of the team's 16 games this season. Still, he's shown enough where he's going to be in the mix for a starting spot next season.
24 Kyle Rudolph 15 9 Obviously, Rudolph is in no danger of losing his job or anything like that going into next season. But after a season lost to injury, it's hard to put him higher than this, particularly given the way a couple of other guys at the same position stepped up in his absence.
25 Andrew Sendejo 37 31 Has always been among the Vikings' best special teamers, and appeared to secure the safety spot next to Smith at the end of the season, when he started twice despite Blanton being listed as healthy. We'll have to see what sort of role the team envisions for him going forward.
26 Joe Banyard 50 NR Didn't get a lot of carries for the team following the injury to Jerick McKinnon, but was fairly impressive when he did get the ball. Could end up getting squeezed out in the numbers game at running back next season.
27 Marcus Sherels 31 29 Had a bit of a strange start to the season, as he fielded some punts he should have let go and made some curious fair catch decisions. Still, as the season wore on, Sherels returned to form as a solid return specialist and special teamer. Sherels is a guy that just keeps on surviving.
28 Charlie Johnson 23 21 Still the weakest link on the offensive line, still hoping that someone can step up and replace him in 2015. I don't see how the team brings him back next year, but then I said that going into this season, too.
29 Jerome Felton 24 19 This rating really isn't as much for Felton's play as much as the fact that he doesn't see the field a whole lot. When he's out there, he gets the job done, but when you don't play more than 20% of the snaps, it's hard to put you higher than this. Has already said he's opting out of his contract.
30 Shamar Stephen 29 37 Got a lot more snaps as part of the team's defensive line rotation than anyone expected following the injury to Floyd. Managed to hold his own for the most part, and appears that he can be a solid rotational guy for the Vikings in the future.
31 Adam Thielen 45 41 IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'M. . .I'm HOOKED ON A THIELENNNNNNNNNNNN! The local boy done good made an impact on special teams this season, including a huge blocked punt for a touchdown, and has shown some promise as a wide receiver. One guy I really hope has a role on this team going forward.
32 Captain Munnerlyn 19 13 Munnerlyn was supposed to help shore up the secondary for the Vikings this season, but it sure did seem like anytime the Vikings gave up a big play in the passing game, it was to a guy Munnerlyn was supposed to be covering. Now says he "didn't listen" to coach Mike Zimmer. That's generally bad.
33 Chad Greenway 25 16 It pains me to put Greenway this low on the list, but honestly, he wasn't good in any aspect of the game this year. He wants to come back in 2015, but he's not coming back at his current salary, and the team is going to have enough young options at linebacker (the ones currently on the roster and also, likely, through the draft) where I'm not sure the odds of it happening are good.
34 Mike Harris 34 50 Was asked to step in for Phil Loadholt after he went down for the season, and though he wasn't outstanding, he certainly could have been worse.
35 Antone Exum 42 49 Was a core special teams player by the end of the season (despite getting benched for his ST play during the year). Got a little bit of time at safety as well. The team seems to like the flexibility he provides with his ability to play either corner or safety.
36 Cordarrelle Patterson 9 3 As you can see by the rankings, nobody's star fell as far or as fast as Patterson's did this season. An afterthought on offense, he's going to have some serious work ahead of him to get back to the top of the mountain he was at going into this season. He's going to have the full backing of the team, and he's going to need it.
37 Jabari Price 39 39 Like Exum, got benched for a couple of special teams lapses during the season. Appears to be another guy that the coaching staff likes and has some potential as a slot cornerback, which is a position that may have an opening sooner rather than later.
38 Corey Wootton 33 27 Robot notwithstanding, it wasn't a great year for Wootton. Wound up as the second-lowest graded defensive player on the team by Pro Football Focus, despite seeing only about 20% of the team's defensive snaps.
39 Cullen Loeffler 38 45 For the first time, I can recall a bad snap from Cullen Loeffler, the one-hopper that resulted in a blocked punt against the Dolphins in Week 16. Currently the oldest player on the roster, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him replaced.
40 Vladimir Ducasse 44 40 Got an opportunity to step in at a couple of spots on the offensive line. It was ugly, as was expected. Likely going to be replaced next season.
41 Shaun Prater 40 34 For whatever reason, seemed to fall out of favor and saw very little time on defense for the Vikings after a big finish to 2013.
42 Austin Wentworth 46 NR Got an opportunity to play a little bit, including some work as a sixth offensive lineman on "jumbo" packages near the goal line. The team seems to like him, and he could develop into a "swing" type of lineman down the track.
43 Justin Trattou NR NR Another guy that had been on the practice squad for a while that finally got an opportunity towards the end of the season. Going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to make the team next year.
44 Christian Ponder 43 42 Yes, the Ponder era is officially over in Minnesota, as there's no chance he'll be back next season. Wherever he ends up next season, he'll have at least one person cheering for him.
45 Jeff Locke 47 44 Wound up as the worst-graded punter in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Not sure if the Vikings can bring him back next year, and at the very least they can't let him go unchallenged. Not sure how much his holds had to do with Blair Walsh's issues this season.
46 Scott Crichton 48 43 One of the bigger disappointments this year. Guys that are selected in the third round of the draft generally don't spent the majority of the season on the inactive list. If he's going to be groomed to take over for Robison, he's going to have to step it up this off-season.
47 Brandon Watts 52 52 Finally got on the field for a little bit, had trouble staying healthy for five consecutive minutes, and got called out by the head coach because of it. That's generally not a good thing.
48 Zach Line 51 53 Spent a lot of time inactive this season. Might still have some potential as a fullback, but with the decreasing role of that position on this team, that doesn't appear to have much promise, either.
49 David Yankey 53 51 Another tremendous disappointment. Yankey was a guy that some had hoped could challenge for a starting spot at guard. Instead, he spent almost the entire season inactive. Hopefully there will be bigger things on the horizon for him next year.
50 Josh Kaddu NR NR Got to the active roster at the end of the season and played some snaps on special teams. Not really a whole lot else to say.
51 Carter Bykowski NR NR Signed off of the 49ers practice squad, and didn't actually get on the field. May or may not be part of the mix for next season.
52 Henry Josey NR NR Was with the team for one game and wasn't active, but could be an interesting project running back for the team next season.
53 Ahmad Dixon NR NR Somebody has to be #53. The Vikings thought highly enough of Dixon to sign him to the practice squad a couple of different times. Was highly thought of going into the 2014 Draft. Remains to be seen if he has a long-term spot with the Vikings
NR Anthony Barr 3 17 Injuries robbed Barr of the final four games of what was an outstanding rookie campaign. He had played his way into the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year before that, and it's going to be fun to watch what he'll bring to the table in his second year in this defense.
NR Matt Cassel NR 18 The Vikings would certainly love to have Matt Cassel back next season. . .as a backup. He has a $4.5 million price tag, however, and he'll almost certainly be asked to re-do that deal. Will he go along with it?
NR Brandon Fusco NR 7 Fusco was on the fast track to becoming the team's best offensive lineman until he suffered a significant injury to his pectoral. The team obviously believes in him, given the huge contract he signed prior to his injury.
NR Phil Loadholt 10 4 One of the NFL's best run-blocking tackles, Loadholt was having an average season prior to his injury. Hopefully his return in 2015, coupled with Fusco coming back, can have the right side of the offensive line back to being very good next season.
NR Michael Mauti 41 47 At this point, you have to wonder if Mauti is going to get a real shot at being a starter. He was a very good special teamer prior to his injury, but at this point he might not get the chance to become anything more, which is kind of depressing.
NR Jerick McKinnon 6 35 McKinnon was showing all sorts of promise before an injury suffered in the weight room derailed his season. He made the transition from college quarterback to NFL running back as smoothly as anyone could have hoped, and should have a big role on this team over the next couple of seasons.
NR Adrian Peterson NR 1 And now we have the $64,000 question. . .or, more accurately, the $13 million question, as that's how much the Minnesota Vikings could potentially save if Adrian Peterson doesn't come back to the purple next season. This will, obviously, be the biggest topic of the team's off-season. Peterson's teammates want him back, the coaches apparently want him back, and the majority of fans seem to want him back. Of course, none of those people write the checks at Winter Park, and that's who ultimately has the final say on all of this.

As always when it comes to rankings of this nature, your mileage may vary. These are just one man's opinion. If you have disagreements, agreements, whatever, feel free to have at it in the comments section.