View photos of Vikings legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Alan Page.
From Fran Tarkenton and Harrison Smith to Randy Moss and Justin Jefferson, a number of Vikings have been highlighted by CBS Sports in its ongoing series ranking the best NFL draft picks of all time.
Patrik Walker on Tuesday delved into every 15th-overall selection in NFL Draft history to find the top five, and the group was headlined by Vikings Hall of Famer Alan Page. The former defensive tackle was drafted out of Notre Dame and played for Minnesota from 1967-78. Traded to Chicago during that final season, Page played through 1981 with the Bears before hanging up his cleats.
There can only be one, and Page is it when it comes to the best of this esteemed list. ... Page entered the league with a hype train fueled by his two national championships and consensus All-American honor at Notre Dame and the pressure to hit the ground running didn't derail him in the least, going on to land nine Pro Bowl honors, nine All-Pro nods, two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and league MVP in 1971. The credits didn't stop there, and were good enough to see him named to both the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team – also inducted into both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame. He [went] on to become a renowned Associate Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, having attended the University of Minnesota Law School and earning his law degree while dominating for the Vikings. As I said a moment ago, there can only be one, and Page has no competition for the No. 1 spot on this list.
Ranked behind Page by Walker were fullback Jim Taylor (1958), safety Dennis Smith (1981), linebacker Derrick Johnson (2005) and cornerback Deltha O'Neal (2000). Walker granted an "honorable mention" to current defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (2010), who last season helped the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV.
NFL.com's Schein 'still believes' in Patrick Peterson
As we continue to look ahead to the 2021 season, NFL.com's Adam Schein put together a unique list of names whom he referred to as "discounted players I still believe in." He wrote:
Which players do I remain bullish on, despite mounting skepticism due to injury, age and/or subpar performance? … After batting around candidates with my editorial staff, here are nine players I very much still believe in, doubters be damned!
Included on Schein's list is veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, who signed with the Vikings in free agency after spending the first decade of his career with the Cardinals. The eight-time Pro Bowler may have had an underwhelming 2020 campaign, but Schein is confident that Peterson has plenty left in the tank.
His decade in Arizona was superb, setting him on a track to Canton. Ask any contemporary at corner or opponent at receiver about Pat Pete, and you'll get a glowing review. The guy was the best, a rare shutdown corner who traveled with the opposition's top target. But given his age, Arizona's roster makeup and the salary cap, it was just time for the two sides to part ways.
I love where Peterson landed, though.
On a one-year deal in Minnesota – with a solid front seven in front of him, as well as a head coach in Mike Zimmer who has a PhD in defensive backs – Peterson will enjoy one more ride in the sun. Not to mention, he'll serve as a valuable mentor to the Vikings corner group.
Others included on Schein's list were Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Chargers safety Derwin James, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, 49ers center Alex Mack, Cardinals receiver A.J. Green, Lions quarterback Jared Goff and Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport.
View photos of CB Patrick Peterson signing his contract and going on a tour of TCO Performance Center.
ESPN's Bowen rates former Gophers WR Bateman for 'today's' NFL
In lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN's Matt Bowen took a look at 15 prospects who "best fit the modern pro game thanks to scheme-specific traits and versatility." He wrote:
What exactly does that entail? For quarterbacks, it's the physical tools and movement skills to produce in today's schemed passing attacks. The front-seven defenders with sub-package upside fit here, too. The running backs with dual-threat talent, receivers who can use their explosive traits after the catch and defensive backs with split-field range all qualify as well.
Let's look at 15 draft prospects who can be used in today's pro offensive and defensive schemes, explaining why they fit the modern game so well and which current or NFL player they compare best to at the next level.
Among the collegiate standouts highlighted by Bowen is a name Minnesota fans will be quite familiar with: Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman, whom he compared to Allen Robinson II.
According to Bowen, Bateman's "pro fit centers on the schematic versatility he brings to the NFL."
He can be aligned as the boundary X or inside as a slot target, and because of that, Bateman can be schemed-up to create matchup issues for the defense.
There's nuance to his game as a route runner, too, which can be maximized in an NFL offense. Throw the quicks and the fades when Bateman aligns inside, and then create the windows for him to run the deep in-breakers. He is strong after the catch and shows the speed to challenge vertically, making Bateman a potential volume target in the pros.