One of the sure signs of summer leading up to the coming NFL season is NFL Network’s annual self-congratulatory program “celebrating” the top 100 players of the coming season.
Instead of being a true celebration, it is often a source of anger for the players who are either omitted from the list or felt they were disrespected by their placement.
An argument was made by conspiracy theorists last year that Adrian Peterson’s return to the Vikings in early June after boycotting the Minnesota Vikings OTA sessions was, in part, a result of being ranked No. 62 on the 2015 NFL Top 100 – only three slots ahead of journeyman running back Justin Forsett. The conspiracy types claimed that the indignity of his selection was the flashpoint for Peterson to end his holdout with his contract demands not yet being met. One can only imagine that Peterson, who had been ranked No. 1 in 2013 and No. 4 in 2014, was not amused by his ranking.
Considering the votes were allegedly made by his peers – fellow players and coaches – to plummet from 1 to 4 to 62 was more than a man with Peterson’s understandably considerable ego could handle. Within days, even with the guarantees in his contract he would eventually receive not yet agreed upon, he showed up for work, perhaps because the NFL dissed him.
As it turned out, a lack of respect for Vikings players was pronounced. Even the simplest of mathematicians can realize that the 32 teams average a little over three players on a list of 100. Peterson was the only Vikings player on the list and he checked in at No. 62. The last month-and-a-half of hype had nothing to do with the Vikings.
NFL Network started its marathon countdown this week, which won’t finish until football fans are finalizing 4th of July plans, and it already has created some animosity and sent a message akin to the fire it lit under Peterson.
In 2015, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck was the seventh-ranked player, behind only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning among quarterbacks. In the 2016 premier episode Wednesday, Luck checked in at No. 92 – a drop of 85 spots. Last year, 11 quarterbacks were named in the top 80, so not only does Luck have the indignity of all but being called washed up in the prime of his career, he gets to watch QBs he knows he is better than getting named long after he came off the board. Each one will be a dagger.
However, for the Vikings, there isn’t likely to be much bad news. Considering he came off the couch for a year and led the NFL in rushing, Peterson is going to likely be the last running back named to the top 100 – redemption for being named No. 62 last year.
A.P. will feel vindicated. Few will jump more spots than him – with the likely exception of someone named Cam Newton.
But, as the lone wolf on the waterboarding list of 2015, neither Peterson nor any of his Vikings teammates have yet to be listed on the top 100 for 2016.
That’s gonna change.
Cameron Jordan made the list at No. 99. That guarantees Everson Griffen is on the list.
No safeties have yet been named. When the first one is, the question will be “is that guy better than Harrison Smith?” Not likely, Jack.
Is it possible to keep Anthony Barr off the list if it is legitimate? If one is projecting forward, his name will likely be called next week or not at all.
If opponents of the 2015 Vikings have an equal vote, keeping Linval Joseph off the list will speak to the veracity of the process.
The good news for Vikings fans is that, while the NFL Network appeased the Buffalo Bills and Rex Ryan in its first installment – and closed them out in the first 15 minutes of the 10-hour miss-tastic epic saga that only serves to infuriate the NFL’s workforce.
A lot of quarterbacks who thought they might make the back end of the list are currently list-pissed by seeing Luck’s name relegated to No. 92.
If the deep-seeded intent of NFL spin doctors is to motivate by evaluating employees, job well done.
Those left off last year’s list are already salty.
Those holding out hope will be salty next week.
Until then, get your NFL-sponsored popcorn and salt ready.
The Vikings are coming … the only question is when?