We know that the Minnesota Vikings have plenty of talent on their roster, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. One of the big football analytics sites has ranked all the rosters in terms of talent, and the Vikings do rank fairly high. . .though not as highly as we might like.
Behind the great E$PN paywall, Pro Football Focus has done their analysis of all 32 NFL rosters, and has determined that the Vikings come in at #12 overall.
Here’s their commentary on what the Vikings have to offer:
Biggest strength: While Harrison Smith's play dropped slightly in 2016, he remains one of the league's most complete safeties. He earned strong grades against the run and in coverage in 2016 and had nine total pressures on the blitz.
Biggest weakness: Brian Robison has been a productive pass-rusher throughout his Vikings career, but he had only 49 total pressures in 502 passing snaps last season and was outplayed by Danielle Hunter over the season, especially against the run.
By the numbers: First-round pick Laquon Treadwell played just 79 total snaps all season and was targeted only three times as a rookie. The Vikings' 2016 rookie class made little impact, and the team needs those players to step up in Year 2.
This is where the site has all the starters for the Vikings ranked. They are color-coded, with the bright blue indicating players that had grades of 90+, the light blue between 80 and 89.9, the white between 70 and 79.9, the light red between 60 and 69.9, and the dark red below 60.
Understand that grades from PFF are guidance, not gospel, but there are a few reasons for optimism. For starters, Treadwell and Alexander almost have to be better than they were in their rookie seasons, if for no other reason than it would be damn near impossible for them to be worse (or less productive, at least). Second, while the grades for Reiff and Remmers aren’t through the roof or anything, they do represent a marked increase over the collective of semi-warm bodies the Vikings put out there at the tackle spots last year. Also, it’s hard to imagine Anthony Barr not being significantly better than he was in 2016. We know he has the ability to be a huge difference-maker, and hopefully he’ll be back to his old form this season.
But, despite their drop-off last season, it’s pretty easy to see that this roster is loaded with talent. Hopefully that will translate into a much better season in 2017.