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Harrison Smith's 95 Overall in "Madden 21" Leads NFL Safeties

EAGAN, Minn. — It's hard for anyone to argue against Harrison Smith.

The do-everything safety has appeared in five consecutive Pro Bowls and has 23 career interceptions, which is good for the seventh-most in Vikings history. His 13 sacks are the most of any defensive back in franchise history and led the NFL from 2010-19.

It's no surprise that Smith received an overall grade of 95 in the recently released "Madden 21" ratings, which leads all NFL safeties:

Smith received ratings of 91 or higher in the following nine categories:

Acceleration 91

Agility 92

Awareness 92

Injury 95

Stamina 91

Pursuit 93

Play Recognition 95

Zone Coverage 92

Hit Power 93

There is definitely a case that Anthony Harris, Smith's counterpart at safety, could have been ranked higher than an overall 83 for the video game.

Harris tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions in 2019 and edged Smith in overall grade from Pro Football Focus with a 90.5 that was the second-highest in the NFL. Smith landed third at 89.8, according to PFF.

Nonetheless, the Vikings have a strong duo on the back end of the defense.

Top 10 Overall Ratings

Six defensive players landed among the Top 10 Vikings for overall ratings.

1. Smith 95

2. DT Michael Pierce 91

3. RB Dalvin Cook 91

4. WR Adam Thielen 90

5. DE Danielle Hunter 89

6. LB Eric Kendricks 89

7. TE Kyle Rudolph 84

8. Harris 83

9. QB Kirk Cousins 82

10. LB Anthony Barr 80

Pierce, who is listed at 6-0 and 340 pounds, has been seen in videos squatting 725 pounds, which may have something to do with his whopping 96 Strength rating. But there's brains to go with the brawn, evidenced by his 95 in Play Recognition that tied Smith for the highest on the team.

Cook's overall rating includes the following high marks: 91 Speed, 92 Acceleration, 94 Agility, 91 Stamina, 95 Change of Direction, 92 Vision and 93 Juke Move.

Thielen's 95 in Catching is one point shy of Rudolph's team-leading 96 in the category. Rudolph also leads the team with a 95 in Stamina, a point ahead of CB Mike Hughes.

Ahem, I think we'd all like a word on behalf of Hunter not being 90 or higher overall. He leads the Vikings in Power Moves (86) and Finesse Moves (91), but his 81 in Strength is deserving of the Think emoji.

Cousins Strong in Play Action, Lobbies for Kendricks

Cousins' highest mark is a 95 in Play Action, which bodes well in Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's system. That is followed by a 92 in Throw Accuracy Short. He is at 85 in Throw Accuracy Middle and 87 in Throw Accuracy Deep.

Other high marks for the quarterback include an 88 when Throwing Under Pressure, 89 Stamina, 88 Injury, 86 Throwing Power and 81 when Throwing on the Run.

The quarterback and Kendricks on Thursday participated in a virtual “Unite the North” Minnesota Chamber Event, and the video game came up.

Cousins said he doesn't play the game, but he saw the ratings for Kendricks, "and that was enough to set me off."

"I'm not just saying this – I think Eric's the best middle linebacker in football. I saw his Madden rating the other day, and it really ticked me off," Cousins said. "I'm tired of him flying under the radar, and it was just a reminder again that even Madden doesn't get it. His rating belongs up in the mid-to-high 90s, and people don't get it.

"I'm going to go on a crusade this fall to spread the word about Eric as a middle linebacker," Cousins continued. "All you've gotta do is watch the tape – not just read the hype or go by where guys are drafted but watch the tape. As far as middle linebackers go, I don't know how you beat Eric Kendricks."

Cousins said there were a "few other" ratings for Vikings that disappointed him, "so I'm just kind of putting a chip on my shoulder for our whole organization to try to get those ratings up."

Logjam at Backup QB

Behind Cousins, the Vikings have Sean Mannion, Jake Browning and Nate Stanley competing for the backup gig.

Mannion is the only one with NFL game experience, Browning spent his rookie season on the practice squad in 2019, and Stanley was tabbed in the seventh round in April.

Mannion landed at 54 overall, a point ahead of Browning and Stanley.

Jefferson Leads Draft Class

Receiver Justin Jefferson leads all members of the Vikings 2020 draft class with an overall rating of 74, which is three points higher than fellow first-round selection Jeff Gladney's 71.

Jefferson's highest mark is a 91 Speed. He has an 83 in Catching, 84 in Spectacular Catching and 83 for Catching in Traffic.

Gladney also has a 91 Speed, along with the same mark in Acceleration. His Change of Direction is 89, Agility is 88, Jumping is 85 and Stamina is 92.

Looking at a "Depth Chart"

How do the Vikings potential top targets (receivers and tight ends) fare in ratings for short, medium and deep routes?

Short: 92 for Thielen, 84 for Rudolph, 79 for Bisi Johnson, Chad Beebe and Irv Smith, Jr., 78 for Tajaé Sharpe and Jefferson

Medium: 89 for Thielen, 79 for Rudolph and Sharpe, 77 for Jefferson, 74 for Beebe and Smith, 72 for Johnson

Deep: 88 for Thielen, 77 for Sharpe, 76 for Jefferson and Rudolph, 71 for Johnson, 69 for Beebe and Smith

Vikings Roster Overall Ratings

Seventy of the 87 players on the Vikings roster received overall ratings that are listed below.

Harrison Smith 95

Michael Pierce 91

Dalvin Cook 91

Adam Thielen 90

Danielle Hunter 89

Eric Kendricks 89

Kyle Rudolph 84

Anthony Harris 83

Kirk Cousins 82

Anthony Barr 80

Britton Colquitt 78

Garrett Bradbury 77

Dan Bailey 76

Brian O'Neill 75

Irv Smith, Jr. 75

Tajaé Sharpe 75

Alexander Mattison 74

Mike Hughes 74

Justin Jefferson 74

C.J. Ham 73

Pat Elflein 72

Anthony Zettel 72

Riley Reiff 71

Ben Gedeon 71

Eric Wilson 71

Ameer Abdullah 71

Holton Hill 71

Jeff Gladney 71

Ifeadi Odenigbo 70

Shamar Stephen 69

Bisi Johnson 68

Dru Samia 67

Armon Watts 67

Jaleel Johnson 67

Eddie Yarbrough 67

Mike Boone 67

Chad Beebe 67

Ezra Cleveland 66

Brett Jones 66

Cameron Dantzler 66

Jalyn Holmes 65

D.J. Wonnum 65

Cameron Smith 65

Troy Dye 65

Josh Metellus 65

K.J. Osborn 65

Nate Meadors 65

Aviante Collins 64

Kenny Willekes 64

James Lynch 64

Tyler Conklin 64

Tony Brooks-James 64

Harrison Hand 64

Dillon Mitchell 64

Rashod Hill 63

Davion Davis 63

Brian Cole II 62

Kris Boyd 62

Olisaemeka Udoh 61

Hercules Mata'afa 61

Alexander Hollins 61

Kyle Hinton 60

Dakota Dozier 60

Mark Fields II 60

Brandon Dillon 59

Blake Brandel 58

Sean Mannion 54

Nate Stanley 53

Jake Browning 53

Austin Cutting 26