It wasn’t that long ago that when media outlets made lists of the top X number of players in the National Football League, you would find a bunch of members of the Minnesota Vikings on the list. Now, while the team still has a great deal of talent, a lot of the experts don’t see the guys wearing purple on the same level that we’ve become accustomed to.
Such is the case with this year’s Top 100 NFL Players list from Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. There are just three members of the Vikings on this year’s list. Sure, that’s right around the average that you’d expect in a 32-team league, but it’s still not as many as we’re used to.
The highest-ranking member of the Vikings is, as you’ve probably guessed, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who checks in at #13 on Prisco’s list.
In his second season, he finished fourth in catches with 108 and second in yards with 1,616. He also had 10 touchdown catches. It’s scary to think what type of leap he can make this season as he better understands the position.
Jefferson is the third-highest receiver on Prisco’s list, behind Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams. It’s pretty hard to argue for Jefferson ahead of either of those two guys. . .at least for now.
Next up at #41 is running back Dalvin Cook. Cook is also third at his position on the list behind Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, both of whom were up in the 20s on Prisco’s list.
He didn’t quite have the season some expected, but he still rushed for 1,159 yards in 13 games, missing time because of injury and COVID. He also caught 34 passes, and that number should go up this season as the Vikings might use him more in the passing game — even outside.
To find the last member of the Vikings on this year’s list, you need to go all the way down to #99 to find the old warhorse, safety Harrison Smith.
The veteran safety is coming to the end of his career, but he put the talk that it’s over to rest last season with another impressive year, even on a bad defense. He can do so many things as a safety in any scheme.
Two members of the Vikings managed to find their way onto the Honorable Mention list. They were quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive end Danielle Hunter. If Hunter can get back into form, there’s little reason to believe he won’t be on next year’s list. As for Cousins. . .well, we’ve had that debate numerous times, haven’t we? Prisco has 12 quarterbacks on his list that aren’t Kirk Cousins. . .we’ll see if he can surpass some of those guys with the new offensive scheme when the 2023 list comes out next offseason.