Pro Football Focus has released their list of the Top 101 players of the 2022 season, and there’s plenty of purple to be found, as seven members of last year’s team are on their list. . .including three members of the defense.
As you’d expect, however, the highest-ranked Viking on the list is wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who checks in at #8 overall.
There was very little to separate (Tyreek) Hill and Jefferson, who had just one fewer explosive play than the Miami speedster. Jefferson flirted with Calvin Johnson’s all-time single-season receiving record before finishing short with 1,809 yards on the season. Jefferson gained a first down 83 times this season, including the playoffs — the most among wideouts.
Jefferson was the second-highest wide receiver on the PFF list, behind Hill. I guess someone has to say that Jefferson might not be the best wide receiver in football, right?
(He’s totally the best wide receiver in football.)
Next on the list is offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, who made the list at #26.
Darrisaw’s major breakout season for the Vikings was blotted somewhat when he was rushed back from a concussion, leading to a second one in fairly quick succession. Darrisaw ended the season with an 81.8-plus PFF grade as both a run blocker and pass protector.
The team’s other bookend tackle, Brian O’Neill, is also on the list at #68. I know I’ve said this before, but seeing that the Vikings might have the top tackle duo in the NFL, or at least one of the best tandems, is quite refreshing after the issues this team has had with the offensive line for as long as they have.
The three members of the defense that made the team were the team’s two starting outside linebackers, Za’Darius Smith (#51) and Danielle Hunter (#55). I might have a bit of an issue with Smith being the higher-rated of the two given the way that both players finished the 2022 season, but they both had solid seasons overall. They’re joined by (now) free agent Patrick Peterson, who was on the list at #78.
And yes, down at #97, you’ll find QB1, as Kirk Cousins found his way onto the Top 101 list.
Cousins had some spectacular games in 2022, including passing for more than 10.0 yards per attempt on two separate occasions and leading the biggest comeback in NFL history, no matter how that comeback unfolded. He now has five straight years with a PFF grade of at least 79.3.
That wraps up the Vikings’ representation on the Pro Football Focus Top 101 of 2022 list. The Vikings had a significant increase in representation on this list than they did last year, when only Jefferson and Cousins made the PFF list of the top 101 players of 2021.
What do you think of the spots these players occupy on the PFF list, folks? Are there players that are too high or too low? Did anyone not make the list that should have?