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Brooks: Vikings’ defensive “triplets” among NFL’s best

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Pretty obvious, but it’s still nice to see

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s still rankings season around NFL media, and we have another ranking for your Minnesota Vikings that shows how much talent their #1-ranked defense possesses.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has compiled his list of the best defensive “triplets” in the National Football League, and the Vikings rank pretty highly. From the numerous players he could have picked at each level of the Vikings’ defense, Brooks named the trio of defensive end Everson Griffen, linebacker Eric Kendricks, and safety Harrison Smith as the second-best set of defensive “triplets” in the league.

Here’s what Brooks had to say about the group:

Mike Zimmer and George Edwards have whipped the Vikings into shape as title contenders with a straight-forward recipe on defense that’s built on speed, grit and hustle. Griffen embodies that philosophy as a disruptive pass rusher with cat-like quickness and a relentless spirit. He can turn speed into power in a heartbeat, yet displays enough finesse to keep offensive tackles on their heels. With 43.5 sacks over the past four seasons, Griffen’s become one of the premier playmakers at the position. Kendricks is a tackling machine in the middle of Minnesota’s defense. He gobbles up runners between the tackles like a vacuum cleaner as an instinctive defender with outstanding diagnostic skills. Smith is a no-nonsense enforcer with a high football IQ and a nasty disposition. He is one of the few safeties capable of roaming the deep middle as a center fielder, while also doing work in the box as a designated run stopper. Rhodes could easily fill the DB slot as an ultra-competitive cover corner with size, length and speed.

Brooks had Rhodes as a potential replacement for Smith in the trio, which is why that last sentence is there.

Again, the great thing about this Vikings’ defense is that Brooks could have taken different players at each level of the Minnesota defense and still come up with a group that ranked pretty highly. He could have used Linval Joseph up front, Anthony Barr at linebacker, and swapped Smith out for Rhodes in the secondary and had a pretty nice trio.

The only defensive trio that ranked higher is one that the Vikings will get a first-hand look at in a couple of months. Brooks put the Jacksonville Jaguars trio of defensive end Calais Campbell, linebacker Telvin Smith, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey on top of his list.

The Minnesota Vikings have some really talented players on defense, you guys. Of course, we knew that already. . .but it’s still nice to see it confirmed.