During draft weekend, one of the staples of the NFL Network coverage was to cross-promote its own programming. As part of the network's off-season coverage, it is doing a countdown of the top 100 players for the 2013 season.
It seemed like the type of show that could have been done in one or two installments. Instead, it's being done in 11 weekly shows – counting down 10 players each Thursday and, as I was informed over draft weekend when I lamented it being dragged out for two-and-a-half months, there was a preview show before the countdown officially started last week. That cow is going to get milked dry.
The NFL sent out a release telling Twin Cities media types to be on the alert that at least one member of the Vikings will be included in tomorrow's installment of players Nos. 81-90. To understand how many Vikings will land on the list, you have to take certain factors into consideration, if you care enough about such things to handicap it.
1. There are 32 teams and 100 players on the list. That works out to about three players per team. Granted, teams like Oakland, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Buffalo and the Jets may not have more than one player, so the other teams will have the ability to put more on, so, for a playoff team like the Vikings, three should be the minimum that is on the NFL 100 and there could be more.
2. There are 14 positions that will make up the top 100. There are likely 14 positions that will be represented – quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, guard, center, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback, safety and kicker – seeing as no punters or long snappers were in the first installment, they can be factored out. That means that most positions won't have more than six or seven players selected at their position
3. Quarterbacks are going to hog the spotlight. A top 100 without Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford or Ben Roethlisberger makes no sense. That's 12 already and, if they're going to project forward, there might be the inclusion of Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco, making almost one out of every five players from here on through on the list a quarterback. It's a QB-driven league and it will be a QB-driven list.
4. There is a bias toward the top teams. If they could find a way, NFL Network would put Ray Lewis on the list even though he is retired. Success elevates players higher than they should be. It happens in the Pro Bowl voting – almost half the Vikings' starters were named at some point to the Pro Bowl following the 2009 season and it has become much the same in predicting players for the 2013 list. There will be a bunch of 49ers, Patriots, Broncos, Ravens (current and former), Seahawks, Texans and Falcons on the list simply coming off the success they had last year. That will squeeze out a lot of players from the lesser teams, which the Vikings might be included in.
Given these four premises, a case can be made for as many as 10 current or previous Vikings making the list for 2013. More realistically, there are eight that likely have the potential to get named and only four that are locks.
I will start by providing a spoiler alert. Given the nature of the game and the broadcast network its on, they will include one kicker. I think that kicker will be Blair Walsh, and my guess is that he will be No. 89 or 90. What can I say, I'm a degenerate gambler.
For those who are anxiously awaiting each of the countdown episodes – get your popcorn ready – here are the early predictions for where players known as Vikings will go.
Adrian Peterson – If Peterson isn't No. 1, the list is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. Coming off a 2,000-yard season and vowing to top that in 2013, how can they not put Peterson at No. 1 as the reigning league MVP?
Jared Allen – He won't be as high as he was last year coming off his chase of the all-time sack record, but he is an elite defensive end, a media darling and will likely fall in the top 20-30.
Percy Harvin – His top-100 stock will be as high as it has ever been. He was mentioned as a MVP candidate six weeks into the 2012 season and he is motivated like never before to show the fans in Seattle that they got a bargain. He could be in the top 20.
Chad Greenway – Vikings fans have seen that Greenway is an elite linebacker in the NFL. He makes plays. He wraps up tackles. He grades out well. But, there are so many "name" linebackers out there, that, if he makes the list, it won't be higher than 70.
Matt Kalil – For my money, Kalil was as impressive as any left tackle in the game. But, he is probably viewed outside the top five OLTs, so, if he makes the list, it will have to come in the next two weeks – and possibly this week.
Blair Walsh – I already spoiled the surprise. If Walsh isn't on the list this week, there likely won't be any kickers that make the top 100. Considering he was asked to kick field goals of 50 or more yards 10 times as a rookie – missing those gives the opponent a short field and they need only two first downs to get into scoring position – and he made all 10 warrants inclusion on the list. It will come early if it comes, but he deserves it.
John Sullivan – He had a very good 2012 and will be critical to the Vikings' success in 2013 (and he's better than Max Unger), but, like Greenway and Kalil, if he's going, it will be soon.
Harrison Smith – If those who made the list watched Smith play, he would have been on ahead of Troy Polamalu. Unfortunately, he should be on the list, but he won't be.
Antoine Winfield – If there is any justice, he should make the list. His 2012 season warrants it. While NFL Network does project (which is why an injured RG3 and Luck will both be on the team based on 2012 performance), Winfield had such a good 2012 that the Vikings may have weighed options on bringing him back. His role with Seattle won't warrant selection, but the Polamalu Rule should apply – at least Winfield had a stellar 2012.
Kevin Williams – If the NFL was going to throw its respect bone, Big Kev would be gnawing on it by now. Close, but no cigar.
The NFL Network press release wouldn't likely be sent about a Vikings connection if it was Harvin – and he won't be mentioned until early June, not early May. My money is on Walsh, but the show will be important in one respect for those scoring at home – it will eliminate the possibility of some the players listed above from being in the top 100.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Which Vikings are in top 100 of 2013?
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings sign 3 to practice squad, release 3The Minnesota Vikings shook up their practice squad on Tuesday, signing three – including an offensive lineman – and releasing three.
Viking Update1:34 PM
Long: No excusesJake Long was only on the field for 13 plays Sunday at Philadelphia, but two of those resulted in turnovers that cost the Minnesota Vikings offense from putting up points. On…
Viking Update12:55 PM
Did rotating tackles affect Vikings?The Minnesota Vikings took the unusual step of rotating their offensive tackles in the first half of Sunday’s loss. Did that affect their performance? Alex Boone reacted to that,…
Viking Update12:42 PM
Cutler’s back, drawing angry Vikings defenseThe Bears announced Monday that, in the midst of Chicago’s World Series frenzy, local goat Jay Cutler will be making his return to playing action. How will it go? The Minnesota…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:02 PM
Notebook: Problems extended beyond pass proThe Minnesota Vikings had obvious problems with pass protection, but there are other areas head coach Mike Zimmer is addressing, too.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:41 PM