Minnesota Vikings have 4 players named to SI’s Top 100


Four players from the Minnesota Vikings were named to a list of the top 100 players in the National Football League by Sports Illustrated.

For a couple of years, the Minnesota Vikings felt like the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. Although they were a good team with some awesome pieces in place, they never got the kind of recognition or respect they deserved.

That doesn’t seem to be the case at all anymore. In fact, the national media has grab on to the Vikings and made them one of the loveable and trendy picks to make some big noise in the league this year. Not only that, but individual players are getting recognized for their efforts in ways they hadn’t before.

Putting some of the pieces in play, making the playoffs, and being in front of more eyes on television can do a lot for a team. Recently, when Sports Illustrated put together their list of the top 100 players currently in the league, four players found themselves listed among the greatest players in the game right now.

Here are the four Minnesota Vikings chosen to Sports Illustrated’s top 100 players list and some of their reasoning behind the decision:

#22: Harrison Smith, safety

"“Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer asks the world of Smith, in all facets—Smith notched 66 tackles, two picks and 1.5 sacks in 13 games last season. The Vikings love to blitz, especially through the A-gap and doing so requires the utmost confidence in Smith to plug any resulting holes along the second and third levels. Smith is only getting better, too.”"

There is no disagreeing here. Smith has put together some amazing seasons and can do anything put on his plate. For a long time, he was a virtual unknown with the mainstream media, but he has forced everyone to take notice.

#30: Adrian Peterson, running back

"“When he plays a full 16 games, Peterson is a virtual lock for 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns. While fumbles have become an increasingly pressing issue, the rest of Peterson’s game remains on point.”"

Yes, he’s getting older. Yes, he’s struggling a bit to get past the line of scrimmage on several runs this year. But a revamped offensive line, work on establishing some deep threats, and the fact that Adrian Peterson doesn’t seem to be human will make him an impact player again this year.

#39: Anthony Barr, linebacker

"“Barr can be disruptive as a blitzer (3.5 sacks and 12 hurries last season). But he is far, far more than a one-trick pony—Pro Football Focus graded him out as the NFL’s top pass-rushing 4–3 linebacker, the third-best in coverage and above average against the run. His development has been swift and impressive.”"

The Minnesota Vikings have been making it a habit of drafting these athletic freaks and getting them on the field and playing at high levels much sooner than many expect. That’s the case with Barr, who is a Swiss army knife of a linebacker and maybe the most valuable piece of the defense when healthy.

#79: Linval Joseph, defensive tackle

"“He’s one of the league’s best run defenders, and when Mike Zimmer sets him up angled towards the center in a Stunt 4–3 look, he’s just about guaranteed to blow through protection and create tackles for loss. Joseph is a rising name on what might be the NFL’s next great defense.”"

There aren’t enough positive things to say about Joseph. The attitude and toughness he brings to the middle of the defensive line sets a tone for the rest of the defense. His ability to eat up blockers or shove through them to disrupt a quarterback can make the a huge difference when an offense game plans for Minnesota.

Next: Vikings game-by-game 2016 season preview

These four Minnesota Vikings players deserve this recognition. However. there are also other young, talented players who are likely knocking on the door of making Sports Illustrated’s top 100 list. Hopefully, there will be more purple there in the future.