Vikings dominate top-100 list

When it comes to dominant players, the Vikings owned a top-100 list put together by players, coaches and general managers. The Vikings checked in with seven players on the list and five in the top 30.

How do you make the argument that you have the best team in the NFL? If it is by the volume of star-quality players that you have, the Vikings would appear to be the best team in the NFL, according to a blue-ribbon panel commissioned by The Sporting News.

The magazine put together a 99-member panel that included 64 players (25 of them Hall of Famers), 15 former head coaches and 10 general managers to select the top 100 players in the NFL. By any measure, the Vikings dominated the list like no other team.

The Vikings not only had a league-best seven players on the list, it was where they had them. Two other teams – Baltimore and Pittsburgh – had six players in the top 100 and two others – Indianapolis and Dallas – had five each.

But what made the selection of the Vikings players so dominating was where they were ranked. They had two players in the top 10, three in the top 15, four in the top 25 and five in the top 30 – all by far the most of any team in the league.

Adrian Peterson checked in highest at No. 5 (the second running back on the list following Tennessee's Chris Johnson), followed by Jared at No. 10, making him the highest-ranked defensive end in the league. Brett Favre landed at No. 15, making him the fifth quarterback to make the list, followed by Steve Hutchinson at No. 23 – making Hutch the highest-rated guard and third-rated offensive lineman on the list. Three others made the list – Kevin Williams at No. 29 (the top defensive tackle on the list), Sidney Rice at No. 71 and Percy Harvin at No. 93.

For those who thought the panel might be somehow biased toward the Vikings, of the 99 members of the panel that ranked players, only four had any connection to the Vikings – Hugh McElhenny, Ron Yary, Rich Gannon and Rick Spielman – and only one of those (Yary) had a career-long identification as a Viking.

The Steelers had six players, but the highest was No. 39 (Troy Polamalu) and only three were in the top 65. The Ravens didn't have anyone until Ray Rice at No. 21, but, between Nos. 21-31, they had four players – coming as close as anyone to the Vikings' largesse. Indianapolis had two in the top 11 – Peyton Manning at No. 1 and Dwight Freeney at No. 11 – but didn't have another until Dallas Clark at No. 36 and Reggie Wayne at No. 38. The Cowboys had just two of the top 40 players – DeMarcus Ware at No. 9 and Jason Witten at No. 19.

Here is the complete list, as selected by the all-star panel:

1. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
2. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
3. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
4. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
5. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
6. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
7. Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets
8. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
9. DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Cowboys
10. Jared Allen, DE, Vikings
11. Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
12. Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers
13. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
14. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears
15. Brett Favre, QB, Vikings
16. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
17. Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
18. Charles Woodson, CB, Packers
19. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
20. Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos
21. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
22. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
23. Steve Hutchinson, G, Vikings
24. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
25. Elvis Dumervil, OLB, Broncos
26. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders
27. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
28. Ed Reed, FS, Ravens
29. Kevin Williams, DT, Vikings
30. Ray Lewis, ILB, Ravens
31. Haloti Ngata, DT, Ravens
32. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
33. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots
34. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
35. Darren Sharper, FS, Saints
36. Dallas Clark, TE, Colts
37. Jake Long, OT, Dolphins
38. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
39. Troy Polamalu, SS, Steelers
40. Mario Williams, DE, Texans
41. James Harrison, OLB, Steelers
42. Jahri Evans, G, Saints
43. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
44. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
45. Josh Cribbs, KR/PR, Browns
46. Vince Wilfork, DT, Patriots
47. Darnell Dockett, DT, Cardinals
48. Adrian Wilson, SS, Cardinals
49. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
50. Nick Mangold, C, Jets
51. Jay Ratliff, DT, Cowboys
52. Clay Matthews, OLB, Packers
53. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
54. Justin Tuck, DE, Giants
55. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
56. DeMeco Ryans, ILB, Texans
57. Asante Samuel, CB, Eagles
58. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Redskins
59. Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos
60. Terrell Suggs, OLB, Ravens
61. Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals
62. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Jets
63. Reggie Bush, RB, Saints
64. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
65. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
66. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
67. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
68. Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
69. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
70. Brian Urlacher, ILB, Bears
71. Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings
72. Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
73. Lance Briggs, OLB, Bears
74. Eli Manning, QB, Giants
75. Chris Snee, G, Giants
76. Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins
77. Robert Mathis, DE, Colts
78. Jon Beason, OLB, Panthers
79. London Fletcher, ILB, Redskins
80. LaMarr Woodley, OLB, Steelers
81. Vince Young, QB, Titans
82. Casey Hampton, DT, Steelers
83. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
84. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Redskins
85. Kris Jenkins, DT, Jets
86. Michael Roos, OT, Titans
87. Logan Mankins, G, Patriots
88. Shaun O'Hara, C, Giants
89. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals
90. Brian Dawkins, SS, Broncos
91. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
92. Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
93. Percy Harvin, WR/KR, Vikings
94. Thomas Jones, RB, Chiefs
95. Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE, Lions
96. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
97. Matt Schaub, QB, Texans
98. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
99. Jairus Byrd, S, Bills
100. Brian Cushing, OLB, Texans

It may not mean anything for the Vikings' chances of three-peating as NFC North champion, but it does speak to one simple fact – the players who were listed are the type of difference-makers that can change the course of a game with their own immense talent. The Vikings have a Magnificent Seven, which should bode well for them as they move forward in the 2010 season.


  • From the "Oh, Really?" Department comes this: Despite rumors that the Vikings remain a possibility for the Chargers to off-load upset wide receiver Vincent Jackson, which honestly doesn't make sense from the trade-and-sign perspective, when asked if the Vikings were looking to add another wide receiver, Brad Childress said the Vikings are "not thinking that way right now." Is this true? Does Javon Walker count as somebody new? He could be re-signed after Week 1 concludes Monday night, but will he make a significant difference? It's funny Chilly would use that term, because, when he and Spielman are in lock-step, both claim to constantly be looking to improve the team at any and all positions. Are we to believe that doesn't include wide receiver?

  • The biggest question to the Jackson dilemma is two-fold. He is expected to have his suspension dropped from six games to three when he meets late this week with the NFL, but, even if a deal was struck, he wouldn't be able to practice with his new teammates until the Monday following the bye week because of the way suspensions work. While the Vikings would still have 13 games remaining, is it feasible that they would surrender with anything higher than a fifth-round pick for the football equivalent to a July 31 baseball trade? Too many things don't make sense, unless either Jackson will accept a low-ball contact or the Vikings are willing to lock him down for a couple of years instead of 13 games.

  • Toby Gerhart is expected to be back on the practice field Monday, while Chris Cook is believed to be giving practice a try on his repaired meniscus, but he may still be a week or two away from returning.

  • When fans saw Bryant McKinnie being taken off the field on a huge cart, the automatic impression was a serious knee or ankle injury. Instead, it was a dislocated finger. It got popped back into socket in the locker room and isn't expected to be an issue for him as practice begins again on Monday.

  • In the strains of Mike Tice from a few years back, "E-A-G-L-E-S!" (followed by an Elmer Fudd laugh). With a loss to an NFC opponent, the Vikings have dug themselves an early hole by losing to a conference opponent, the second tie-breaker when playoff teams are viewed. The Vikings will likely be fans of the Eagles, who play host to the Packers. If Philly can win at home, the Vikings and Packers would both have a loss in the conference. It may be early to start thinking tie-breakers, but they all count.

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