Minnesota Vikings’ 10 Best Players Entering 2014

10 Best Minnesota Vikings Players Entering 2014 Season

Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Mike Zimmer inherits a Minnesota Vikings roster filled with talent and potential. However, a lot of these players have yet to reach this potential. It should be expected that this list will look quite a bit different next season, but for now, here are the Vikings' 10 best players entering the 2014 season.

Just Missed

Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Just Missed

Matt Kalil Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

DE Brian Robison
DE Everson Griffin
FB Jerome Felton
LT Matt Kalil

10. LB Chad Greenway

Chad Greenway Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

10. LB Chad Greenway

Chad Greenway Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk about the diminished talents of the Vikings' top linebacker due to advanced statistics arguing that Greenway is the worst starter on the team. However, statistics do not account for leadership and football IQ. Greenway may not be the player he once was, but he is still a very capable linebacker and the leader of a young Vikings defense.

9. TE Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

9. TE Kyle Rudolph

Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Rudolph recently received a very nice five-year contract extension with the team, so apparently I am not the only one who sees his value. Rudolph has excellent hands and is an excellent blocker, a skill that has escaped many of the “new age” tight ends. He will be the safety net for whoever the starting quarterback is this season and, barring injury, should prove that his contract extension is actually a bargain.

8. FS Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

8. FS Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

During his rookie season in 2012, Smith was the best player in the Vikings' secondary and arguably the most impactful defensive player overall outside of Jared Allen. Smith has excellent ball skills and is one of the heaviest hitters in the NFL. Ask Calvin Johnson if you don't believe me.

7. CB Captain Munnerlyn

Captain Munnerlyn Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

7. CB Captain Munnerlyn

Captain Munnerlyn Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Munnerlyn comes over to the Vikings from the Panthers after having his best NFL season to date. He has great hands for a cornerback and is lethal when he does get the ball in his mitts, scoring four touchdowns over the past two seasons. Munnerlyn is one of the better slot cornerbacks in the NFL and will have to play like it if the Vikings' pass defense is to improve this season.

6. WR Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings Minnesota Vikings
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

6. WR Greg Jennings

Greg Jennings Minnesota Vikings
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jennings had a bit of a down season in 2013, at least by his standards, but this should be attributed to the Vikings' quarterback issues and not a diminishing skill set. Jennings may not be the playmaker he once was, but he is a top-notch route runner and is always a safe bet to catch the football, assuming the quarterback can get it to him. Jennings is still dangerous in the open field, as he still possesses above average speed.

5. DT Linval Joseph

Linval Joseph New York Giants
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

5. DT Linval Joseph

Linval Joseph New York Giants
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph was likely the biggest offseason addition for the Vikings this season, no pun intended. He is one of the most athletic nose tackles in the NFL, providing nine sacks over the past three seasons with the Giants. Joseph is also capable of batting the ball down at the line of scrimmage, a skill that is more often attributed to defensive ends than 300-pound nose tackles.

4. RT Phil Loadholt

Phil Loadholt Minnesota Vikings
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

4. RT Phil Loadholt

Phil Loadholt Minnesota Vikings
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Loadholt is one of the biggest reasons why the Vikings have been so successful running the football over the past few seasons. Obviously it helps having the best running back in the NFL, but Adrian Peterson would not be able to do anything without his offensive linemen. Loadholt is arguably the best run-blocker in the NFL and one of the best right tackles period.

3. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

3. WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

With Adrian Peterson out during the latter part of the 2013 season, Patterson was the Vikings' offense. He was far and away the most dangerous player on the field for the Vikings, scoring in every possible way. Patterson should be even better this season with an entire offseason to work on his route running and may prove to be the most important player on the Vikings' offense this season.

2. C John Sullivan

John Sullivan Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

2. C John Sullivan

John Sullivan Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

A sixth-round pick back in 2008, Sullivan has been the most consistent player on the Vikings other than the No. 1 player on this list. He is arguably the best center in the entire NFL, creating holes for Adrian Peterson to run through and consistently keeping much larger defensive tackles away from the quarterback. It may be surprising where Sullivan ended up on this list, but he is undeniably one of the most important players on the team.

1. RB Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. RB Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Did you expect anything different? Peterson is the best running back in the NFL and one of the best players period. He has proven capable of carrying a team even when his quarterback is incapable of doing anything but handing him the ball. Even at 29 years old, No. 28 has shown few signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Robert Reidell is a Minnesota Vikings Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+


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