Who are the best Minnesota Vikings? There are so many different ways to ask and answer this question. We could look at the NFL Top 100 List, but we all consider that list to be garbage. We could ask which current players are destined to be in the Hall of Fame, but boy that is mighty hard to project. I decided on a much more fun exercise. NFL Street
From 2004-2006, EA Sports made a pretty fun football series, called NFL Street. The game was an arcade version of our favorite NFL, pitting real teams and players against each other in 7 vs. 7 pickup style action. There were a few cool game features:
Fields – There wasn’t just grass and turf, but games happened on parks, beaches, alleys, and rooftops.
Style – Points were awarded for taunts. This was a very fun version of the No Fun League!
Lineups – 4 skill positions, 3 linemen, all playing both ways. Each NFL Team had an 11-13 player selection pool.
Extra Points – No Kickers! Run it in for a 1-point conversion, pass it in for 2 extra points.
So to answer the question "who are the best Minnesota Vikings?" I’ll be building an NFL Street Team.
The Pool – 13 players
Sam Bradford / Dalvin Cook / Jerick McKinnon / Stefon Diggs / Adam Thielen / Joe Berger / Linval Joseph / Everson Griffen / Danielle Hunter / Eric Kendricks / Anthony Barr / Xavier Rhodes / Harrison Smith
Teddy Bridgewater – OK guys. Let’s not overreact. He isn’t healthy, so he’s not on the team. That’s all this is.
Latavius Murray – Hard one, as he is arguably a better option than the unknown rookie Cook. Could also be great LB.
Kyle Rudolph – Rudy is a solid TE, but it’s hard to project TEs in NFL Street. Where does he play on defense?
Alex Boone – Really just take your favorite OL, you only get one. I went with Berger, but there’s a case for other OL.
Brian Robison – The worst part about BRob not making the cut is lose out on his awesome REEL EM IN taunt.
The Final Seven
Quarterback / Safety – Sam Bradford
The accuracy Sam exhibits fits the team I am trying to build. His weaknesses are clear, and probably exacerbated in a pickup style environment. He doesn’t show the athleticism and pocket agility that you would want. He’s a big question mark on defense. His quality as a passer though still makes it all worthwhile. The other option here would be Jet. He is way more athletic and played QB in college, but it was mainly a running offense and that might not work here.
Running Back / Linebacker – Harrison Smith
Hitman’s elite play as a box safety makes him an essential add to this pickup team. From here he can cover, run support, blitz, and even play QB spy. All that flexibility will help that much more as he covers up any weakness Bradford may show on defense. Moreover, it’d be really cool to see what Smith does as an RB. Not ideal but he can at least run with purpose and have the ball skills to be a receiving threat. The other option here is Kendricks. Love Eric but you just can’t beat Harrison.
Wide Receiver / Cornerback – Stefon Diggs
Diggs is an underrated stud WR in today’s NFL. His knack for getting open and elite catching ability make him the go to option for this team’s offense. He also brings all the swagger (CAN U DIGG IT) that you want in a game that rewards for taunts. In fact that is a main factor for him getting the nod over Thielen here. On defense, you would have to think that his speed and agility would make for solid coverage skills. Tackling, however, must be an issue.
Wide Receiver / Cornerback – Xavier Rhodes
Yeah, this is the biggest no brainer of the entire list. I’m gonna trot out Rhodes on any WR in any pickup game and feel mighty good about it. Xavier really elevated his game last year, adding ball skills to coverage ability that was already great. It’s been fun watching him develop. Offensively, he serves as a deep threat. We saw Xavier show elite speed on his pick-six against the Arizona Cardinals in week 11. Hopefully that will open up things for Sam and Stefon to work underneath.
Offensive Tackle / Defensive End – Everson Griffen
Up until now, I have kept the team pretty balanced between offense and defense. That changes here. The DL is that much better than the OL, so I’m taking risks to get them all on the field. Griffen is clearly one of the Vikings best players and a havoc wreaking pass rusher. His SACK DADDY celebration should be seen early and often in a game like NFL Street. Even better, there are no penalties in the game so we don’t have to worry about offsides! Hopefully he can hold up as a blocker. He certainly has the strength.
Offensive Tackle / Defensive End – Danielle Hunter
This was closer than some would imagine. I considered putting Berger here for the sake of some offensive blocking ability. I also think you can make an argument for Anthony Barr. Hunter’s development though just can’t be ignored. Like the Vikings, I can no longer keep him off the field. He started as a raw pass rusher, but has since added other parts to his game. He also exhibited great strength on a sack safety of Cam Newton in week 3, so sure let’s see him block too.
Center / Defensive Tackle – Linval Joseph
Can Linval Joseph shotgun snap? I would like to find out the hard way. The big man has everything you want in the center of the line! Strength, leverage, lateral agility, and the weight to wear people down! That HOME RUN SWING celebration is very key. You have to think that Griffen / Joseph / Hunter set up on defense would be dominant, especially with Rhodes and Smith behind them. Joseph though is the central figure, and arguably most important lineman.
So there it is! Minnesota’s 7 best players defined using a very funky system. What do you think? What would be your ideal 7 man lineup for the 2017 Vikings?