We know that the Minnesota Vikings have plenty of talent on the offensive side of the football, but a new batch of rankings from ESPN has them even higher than I think most fans of the purple might place them.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN rated the offensive “arsenals” across the NFL and has the Vikings slotted at #5 overall. Barnwell does stipulate that this is based entirely on skill position talent “without including the impact of the quarterback, offensive line, or scheme.” I’m not 100% sure on how one does that, precisely, but these are Barnwell’s rankings so he can use whatever criteria he wants.
Here’s what Barnwell’s commentary has to say about the Vikings’ skill position talent:
It’s hard to think of a trade that looks more like a win-win for both sides after one season than the swap that sent Stefon Diggs to the Bills and allowed the Vikings to draft Justin Jefferson. All Jefferson did was produce one of the most impressive seasons by a rookie receiver in league history, as he led all receivers in yards (1,330) and yards per target (11.0) after entering the starting lineup in Week 3. Adam Thielen’s volume suffered, with the veteran losing a little over two targets per game from his 2018 peak, but he still scored a ho-hum 14 touchdowns.
At this point, everybody’s on the same page with Dalvin Cook: When the Vikings’ star running back is healthy, he’s right alongside Derrick Henry as the most fearsome back in all of football. Counting on him to be healthy can be dangerous. He missed two games in 2019 and had to leave three more with a shoulder injury. Last season, he sat out in Week 17 and missed a game and a half with a groin issue. Cook does more in 13 or 14 games than most backs do in a full season, but if we ever get to see the 2017 second-rounder piece together a full 17-game campaign, he’d be a threat to hit 2,000 yards.
You’ll note that there isn’t any mention of Irv Smith Jr., who is a player that’s gotten a lot of steam this offseason and seems poised to make a jump to the next level in 2021. I’m sure that he counted for something as far as Barnwell’s ratings are concerned, though.
There’s really no doubt that the Vikings do have a ton of offensive talent. If they’ve finally figured things out on the offensive line. . .which is something that we’ve been keeping our fingers crossed about for what seems like forever. . .this offense could be incredibly dangerous.