Three Vikings in ‘best players under 25’ list

The Vikings were one of only two teams to have three players on an NFL.com list naming the 26 best players under the age of 25.

As is part and parcel to the offseason every year, media types start developing lists and countdowns and all-time comparisons to kill the time in between the end of the season and the start of free agency – just as it will happen the weeks leading up to the draft and the dog days of summer waiting for training camps to open.

The NFL’s official website got in the act, selecting 26 players as the best players in the league under the age of 25 when the regular season opens Sept. 10. NFL.com media analyst Elliott Harrison, who was all over the ascent of Cordarrelle Patterson and Xavier Rhodes last summer, lists three other Vikings on his new under-25 list for 2015 – Teddy Bridgewater, Sharrif Floyd and Anthony Barr.

Bridgewater set several franchise rookie records in 2014, including the most wins (six) by a Vikings rookie QB, most starts (12), most games without an interception (four), completion percentage (64.4, which was third-best for a rookie in NFL history) and passer rating (85.2)

Barr became the third rookie linebacker in team history to start 10 or more consecutive games, was second in franchise history with four sacks by a rookie and fifth in tackles (99) by a rookie, and tied for second-most fumble recoveries (three) by a rookie.

In his second season, Floyd set career highs for tackles (55), sacks (4½), tackles-for-loss (11) and QB pressures (43).

The three Vikings named to the under-25 team tied for the most by any team – Dallas has three players named, all of them offensive linemen.

Here is the entire team as selected by NFL.com:

Quarterback – Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota.

Running Backs – Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh; Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati.

Wide Receivers – Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston.

Tight End – Zach Ertz, Philadelphia.

Offensive Linemen – Tyron Smith, OT, Dallas; Terron Armstead, OT, New Orleans; Zack Martin, G, Dallas; Joel Bitonio, G, Cleveland; Travis Frederick, C, Dallas.

Defensive Linemen – Sheldon Richardson, DE, New York Jets; Fletcher Cox, DE, Philadelphia; Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis; Sharrif Floyd, DT, Minnesota.

Linebackers – Khalil Mack, OLB, Oakland; Anthony Barr, OLB, Minnesota; Luke Kuechly, MLB, Carolina, Chris Borland, ILB, San Francisco.

Cornerbacks – Darius Slay, Detroit; Bene' Benwikere, Carolina.

Safeties – Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona; Eric Reid, San Francisco.

Kicker – Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona.

Punter – Brad Wing, Pittsburgh.

Return Specialist – De’Anthony Thomas, Kansas City.

In all, 17 teams were represented on the 26-man roster. The Vikings and Dallas had three players each. Five other teams had two players each – Arizona, Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Ten teams had one player each – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland and St. Louis.

Two Vikings that were under 25 last season and in consideration for position nominations – Xavier Rhodes and Blair Walsh – didn’t qualify for the team because they both will be 25 on Sept. 10 – Walsh turned 25 in January and Rhodes turns 25 in June.

If the numbers mean anything, it’s that the NFC has the top-end young players that teams are building around. Of the 23 position players named (there were four defensive linemen and four linebackers selected to account for the extra player), 17 of them were from NFC teams.

There are going to be a lot of lists like those that will be coming forward, but the theme may be the same in many of them – the Vikings are a young team on the rise.

THURSDAY NOTES
  • It seems Adrian Peterson may be sending out coded messages to fans in his official statements. By definition, an official statement is prepared and likely read by a handful of people before it is released, making sure that the wording is right and isn’t subject to ambiguity. With all the eyes that likely helped write and read it (and re-read it), in his prepared statement following the overturning of his suspension last week, Peterson thanked several people, but omitted the Vikings organization and his teammates. In a statement sent to ESPN Wednesday after his meeting with Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman, Peterson said there are issues he and his family “still have” with the Vikings. Read into that what you will.

  • Spielman completed a deal to move Matt Cassel that is classic Spielman. There was a possibility that the Vikings were going to cut Cassel because he was due a $500,000 roster bonus this month. By making the deal, the Vikings move up from the sixth round to Tampa Bay’s pick in the fifth round (previously obtained in another trade), give their sixth-round pick back to Buffalo and get a seventh-round pick from Buffalo next year. In Spielmanese, that’s called reinforcement ammunition.

  • The compensatory picks are going to get agreed upon by owners later this month and it’s likely the Vikings aren’t going to get a compensatory pick this year because they bought more than they lost in last year’s free agency. Considering that they have no free agents that have enough cred to warrant something on the credit side, it seems unlikely the Vikings will have a compensatory pick next year, too.


  • Viking Update Top Stories