We're now halfway through our respective rankings of the top 30 Minnesota Vikings players as we inch closer to the 2016 season.
Our rankings of 30-26 along with an explanation of how this all came about and how we came about our rankings.
You can find 25-21 right here.
And our most recent rankings of 20-16 can be found here.
You guys know the drill by now, so let's get right to it. Here are the players we ranked 15-11:
|15||Blair Walsh, K||Captain Munnerlyn, CB|
|14||Captain Munnerlyn, CB||Xavier Rhodes, CB|
|13||John Sullivan, C||Michael Griffin, S|
|12||Joe Berger, OL||Kyle Rudolph, TE|
|11||Danielle Hunter, DE||
Eric Kendricks, LB
Eric: Blair Walsh, K. Yep. He missed a very important kick that effectively ended the season. Get over it. Because Walsh has certainly seemed to have gotten over it, and I think he'll prove that he has this season. He's still one of the better kickers in the league and an important part of this Vikings team.
Ted: Captain Munnerlyn, CB. Munnerlyn is a guy that looked like he was a free agent bust until he bought in to Zimmer's system, and last year it paid off. He regained his reputation as the best slot corner in the NFL, and what had been a weak spot on the Vikings for years is now, finally, a position of strength. It just took two seasons for it to happen. Also, Munnerlyn isn't getting cut, and he isn't getting traded, so you folks that think Mackensie Alexander is going to step in and rip it up, just cool your jets for a bit.
Eric: Captain Munnerlyn, CB. Captain's first year in Minnesota was underwhelming, but he was exactly what the secondary needed last year. As in, one of the league's best slot defenders. He'll need to keep that high level of play going, because if he doesn't he'll lose snaps to either Mackensie Alexander or Trae Waynes.
Ted: Xavier Rhodes, CB. Last year I thought Rhodes would break out and emerge as one of the top shutdown corners in the NFL. That didn't happen, as he struggled early, but was playing good football by the end of the year. The Vikings defensive scheme relies on aggressive corners playing press coverage, and the play of Rhodes will go a long, long way in determining how good the Vikings defense will be.
Eric: John Sullivan, C. There are no guarantees that Sully will return to form after the kind of injury he sat out with last season. But even if he can get close to what he was before getting hurt, Teddy Bridgewater won't know what to do with all that time he'll have in the pocket. The Vikings don't necessarily need "All-Pro John Sullivan"--they need "Good Enough to Move Joe Berger elsewhere on the Line John Sullivan."
Ted: Michael Griffin, S. I have Griffin so high because I think he's going to be the starter, and how the starter opposite Harrison Smith performs will determine whether or not this secondary is good, or championship-caliber elite. I admittedly wasn't fired up about the Griffin signing, but Mike Zimmer has a way of getting good years out of experienced veterans, so maybe we'll see that out of Griffin in 2016.
Eric: Joe Berger, OL. Can you imagine what an unmitigated disaster the offensive line would have been without Berger stepping up to fill Sullivan's void at center? No matter where he ends up along the interior line this season, chances are he'll be just as reliable.
Ted: Kyle Rudolph, TE. I have a feeling that this is going to be a ‘put up or shut up' year for Rudolph. He's a guy that has a ton of talent, but has really struggled with injuries. The Vikings signed him to a long term extension at the beginning of training camp in 2014, but he's been largely disappointing in the two seasons since. With talent behind him that could push him for playing time, the time is now for Rudolph, one would think. And with the tight end being a key player in this offense, someone needs to step up. If it's Rudolph, he's going to have a breakout year.
Eric: Danielle Hunter, DE. It might be a bit ambitious to rank a raw second year guy that didn't start last year just outside the top ten. By the end of the year, keeping him out of the top ten might look ridiculous. Hunter is built like an action figure and has all the tools to rack up double-digit sacks if he can earn enough snaps. Don't be surprised if he's starting by the end of the season.
Ted: Eric Kendricks, LB. As good as Anthony Barr has been for the Vikings...and what I'm about to say is not meant to be disrespectful to Barr...I think second year LB Eric Kendricks might even be better. I don't know that he's a better athlete than Barr, but he seems to be more of a natural LB. And debating who the better of the two is seems kind of silly, anyway, because this LB tandem is going to be a force for the Vikings for years to come.
So there you have it--we have made it to the top ten, and with Munnerlyn making the list for both of us here, we now have two...TWO matches, a ha ha. Will we have more as we get closer to the top? Stay tuned as we reveal our choices in the coming days.