Eric Nordquist of KFAN, who is the producer for Paul Allen’s show, has apparently offered up his ten best players on the current Minnesota Vikings’ roster. I didn’t actually hear the segment on the show or anything, but the Reddit link above lists them in the order that Nordo had them in. Here is his Top 10, according to the Reddit post:
- Xavier Rhodes
- Linval Joseph
- Sam Bradford
- Harrison Smith
- Danielle Hunter
- Everson Griffen
- Eric Kendricks
- Kyle Rudolph
- Adam Thielen
- Dalvin Cook
While this is an. . .interesting. . .list, there’s no way I can find myself agreeing with all of it. So, I figured I’d put together my list of the ten best current Minnesota Vikings’ players for everyone’s consumption.
#1 - Xavier Rhodes
I can’t argue with Nordo’s top choice. As I said in my post about Rhodes making the NFL Network’s Top 100 list, of all of the great cornerbacks there are in the National Football League today, there isn’t a single one of them that I’d trade Xavier Rhodes straight up for. I think he’s developed into the best corner in the National Football League, he turns 27 next month, and he’s going to be anchoring this secondary for the long haul, it would appear. I’m sure there are arguments that could be made for the best player on the Vikings’ roster, but I think Rhodes deserves this spot as things stand right now.
#2 - Harrison Smith
What Rhodes is to cornerbacks, Smith is to safeties, in my opinion. I know this is going to sound extra homer-iffic, but I can’t think of a safety in the NFL that I’d trade Smith straight-up for, either. He’s one of the NFL’s most versatile defensive players, looking just as good as a run stopper or a blitzer as he does in coverage. If the Vikings could find a running mate to play next to him, Mike Zimmer could do even more things with him. Hopefully we’ll see that in the future.
#3 - Sam Bradford
No, it’s not crazy to have Bradford this high on the list. Seriously, the guy came in last year with no preparation, learning a new offensive system on the fly (and then learning another new offensive system after the Vikings changed offensive coordinators mid-season), and playing behind an offensive line that could charitably be described as a tire fire inside of a dumpster that was also on fire. He set an NFL single-season record for completion percentage, and people can poo-poo that if they want to, but he did have outstanding success throwing the ball deep. . .when he was actually afforded enough time to do so. If the offensive line can get to the point of being “average” or even “not absolutely terrible,” Bradford could be in for a huge year in 2017.
#4 - Linval Joseph
Joseph has developed into one of the better free agent signings in Vikings’ history, even after a down first year in purple. He truly can’t be blocked one-on-one, and he has enough quickness to get into the opposing backfield and make life miserable for running backs. Mike Zimmer said that he wants Joseph to work on his pass rush this offseason, and if he can add that to his repertoire, he’s going to become that much more dangerous.
#5 - Everson Griffen
Griffen bided his time behind Jared Allen for the first few seasons of his Vikings’ career, and raised a lot of eyebrows when the Vikings gave him a huge contract extension without him ever having a starting role. It’s turned out to be an outstanding move for the Vikings to this point, as Griffen has more than adequately replaced Allen as a pass rusher and has been a pretty good run defender as well. He’s still only 29 years old and still has plenty of tread left on the tires, so he’s probably going to be menacing quarterbacks for at least a few more seasons to come.
#6 - Eric Kendricks
Man. . .a lot of defensive players on this list, aren’t there? Kendricks had a pretty solid rookie season in 2015, and made an even bigger leap forward last season. He truly became the quarterback of the defense for the Vikings, and showed huge improvements in his coverage abilities. He also chased down damn near everything from sideline-to-sideline, and really surpassed his former UCLA teammate Anthony Barr as the premier linebacker on the Minnesota roster.
#7 - Stefon Diggs
For a fifth-round draft choice (that couldn’t even get onto the active game day roster to start his rookie year), Diggs has quickly become a very good wide receiver. He would probably be higher on this list if it weren’t for the nagging injuries that seem to give him constant trouble. When he’s healthy, however, he’s just about uncoverable, and hopefully enough players can step up into the outside receiver roles where Diggs can spend most of his time in 2017 in the slot, where he’s a devastating weapon.
#8 - Danielle Hunter
Yes, I know that we all think that Hunter is going to be an absolute monster, and given what he’s done with limited snaps in his first two seasons, I think that’s warranted. However, until he does it as a starter for a while, it’s tough for me to put him higher than this, and I definitely can’t put him ahead of Griffen, who has been producing at a high level for a few years. Still, if Hunter continues on his current trajectory, it isn’t hard to imagine him being significantly higher on this list. . .or even on the top of it. . .by this time next year.
#9 - Joe Berger
What? An offensive lineman in the Top Ten? Well, in the case of Berger. . .who has been the only Vikings’ offensive lineman over the past two seasons to not completely embarrass himself on a weekly basis. . .I think it’s warranted. Berger has done whatever the Vikings have needed him to do, and has done it very well. Need him to play center? He’ll do great at center. Need him to play guard? He’ll do a great job at guard. He’s one of the oldest players on the roster and might be getting near the end of the line, but he’s the one constant on the offensive front, and that counts for something in my book.
#10 - Adam Thielen
I had a heck of a time deciding who to plug into this spot. I picked Thielen because I think he’s still on an upward trajectory and is going to be even better this coming season. He developed some great chemistry with Bradford very early on, and I think that the two of them are going to continue to be a very solid duo in 2017 as well. Besides, who doesn’t like a good “local kid done good” story, huh?
The Next Five
Kyle Rudolph - He’s the other name I was debating for the #10 spot. He had, by far, his best season in 2016, and can hopefully duplicate that success in 2017.
Anthony Barr - If this was last season’s list, Barr would probably be in the top 4 or 5. However, he really fell off this past season and needs a bounce-back year.
Dalvin Cook - He might already be the most talented back on the Vikings’ roster, but I can’t realistically put a rookie on this list already.
Teddy Bridgewater - Pretty simple. If he’s healthy, he’s on the list. Until he’s healthy, he’s not.
Terence Newman - He’s performed amazingly well over his first two seasons in purple, but it will be interesting to see how the Vikings use him this year. Will he see time at safety? Will he be a nickel corner? Will he start again?
In any event, that’s my take on the Top Ten current members of the Minnesota Vikings, folks. Who have you got?