Fans of the Minnesota Vikings haven’t gotten a chance to appreciate what defensive lineman Harrison Phillips brings to their struggling defense yet, but according to one source he’s already the most underappreciated player in a purple jersey.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com has put together a list of one underappreciated player from each roster in the league, based on a combination of performance and contract considerations, and has deemed Phillips the Vikings’ most underappreciated player. Here’s how she came to that conclusion:
My favorite computer vision stat on Phillips is the improvement he made after Week 9. His win share literally doubled from 0.38 to 0.77 at that turning point. His lateral movement on run stops was a big reason for his added value, as he kept his center of gravity low and feet aligned on 51.4 percent more snaps after Week 9. While Phillips’ APY has him within the top 32 interior linemen, his 8.7 pressure rate last year was good enough to place him among the top 15 players at his position, per NGS.
Phillips was brought in by the Vikings to take over for Michael Pierce. Pierce performed well on the field for the Vikings, but wound up playing just eight games for the team before he was released this March. Pierce and Phillips both have very good reputations as run stoppers, but it appears that Phillips could bring even more in the way of pass rush skills to the Vikings’ defense. Interior pressure has been an issue for the Vikings for quite some time, so hopefully Phillips can continue his upward trajectory in that facet of his game.
Phillips is already endearing himself to the Twin Cities community with some of the things he’s doing off the field. If he can provide the Vikings’ defense with the interior presence they’ve been missing since Linval Joseph left town, he’s not going to be “underappreciated” for very long.