ESPN predicted their top 100 players of the 2017 NFL season and three members of the Minnesota Vikings defense made an appearance on the list.
With the 2017 NFL season right around the corner, many websites and experts have been making predictions as to which players and teams will put forward excellent performances on the field to get noticed.
ESPN is no exception to this situation. While the site is always putting forward projections, power rankings, and predictions, the sports media juggernaut put together a list of the top 100 players for the upcoming season based on how they may perform during the season.
On that list, 3 members of the Minnesota Vikings were included. Included in the countdown was a small amount of analysis from ESPN analyst Kevin Seifert, who keeps close tabs on the NFC North for ESPN.
Here are the individuals who appeared on the list from the Minnesota Vikings as well as their position and rankings on the countdown:
#85: Everson Griffen, defensive end
"“Since he became a full-time player in 2014, Griffen has the NFL’s fifth-highest sack total (30.5). He is also a stronger run defender than most elite pass-rushers, and has missed only one game over those three seasons. Put it all together, and Griffen is one of the most durable, reliable and consistent pass-rushers in the league.”"
Griffen has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons, and if he continues playing at a high level, he is expected to return to the NFL’s all-star game again. Last season, he accumulated 48 combined tackles and 8 sacks while forcing two fumbles.
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#82: Xavier Rhodes, cornerback
"“Rhodes’ five-interception 2016 campaign solidified that he could reliably match up on opposing No. 1 receivers. His physical presence and ample speed left opponents with no obvious weaknesses to exploit. Safety Harrison Smith’s take speaks volumes: “As far as covering guys all the way, man-to-man, I don’t think there’s anybody better.”"
Rhodes exploded onto the scene last season, earning his first Pro Bowl appearance. He intercepted 5 passes last year, adding 52 combined tackles, one forced fumble, 11 passes defended, and one defensive touchdown.
#60: Harrison Smith, safety
"“Smith is an elite-level run supporter and pass-rusher, leading all safeties with 7.5 sacks since he entered the league in 2012. At 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, he is big enough to bring down a power back and versatile enough to muscle up on a tight end. He can also more than hold his own in coverage, having earned his reputation early with a series of crushing, ball-separating hits on now-retired receiver Calvin Johnson”"
Smith made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer. Last season, he accumulated 91 combined tackles adding two sacks and two passes defended in only 14 games played.
Congratulations to Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings on making the ESPN Top 100 of 2017 list. Hopefully, more players from the franchise will make an appearance when the 2018 list rolls around next season.