CBS Sports' Pete Prisco has unveiled his Top 100 NFL Players of 2020, and five Vikings made the cut.
The highest-ranked Viking on his list was defensive end Danielle Hunter, who landed at No. 25, just below 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa. Prisco wrote:
This 25-year-old had 14.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons to establish himself as one of the best edge players in the league. He can rush with speed or power.
At No. 37, Prisco put Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith.
He should have been on the All-Decade team at safety with his range and his ability to do so many things as a big part of the Vikings defense. His play slipped a little last season, but he's still a top-tier safety.
Next up? Running back Dalvin Cook, who – despite injuries – has shown himself to be a special player during his first three seasons in Minnesota.
He missed two games and still rushed for 1,135 yards and a 4.5 yards per-rush average. He also had 13 rushing touchdowns. His next hurdle is playing all 16 games.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who appeared in his first career Pro Bowl in January, was listed by Prisco at No. 61.
He is coming off his best season – by far. He was always good against the pass, but he improved greatly last season as a run player.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is entering his third season with the Vikings, was slated at No. 86.
He had another good season for the Vikings, leading them to the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs. He threw 26 touchdown passes and six picks.
Prisco's top 10 were as follows, from the top down: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Rams DT Aaron Donald, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Saints WR Michael Thomas, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, Cardinals LB Chandler Jones, Bears OLB Khalil Mack and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
Safety Anthony Harris fell into Prisco's "just missed" grouping.
*Harris named Vikings player 'most underappreciated' outside organization *
Every team has players who don't quite get their dues from the national media and fans.
NFL Network Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund recently highlighted the "most-underappreciated" players from each AFC and NFC team.
When it came to the Vikings, Frelund pointed to Harris, who on Monday signed his franchise tender offer. Frelund wrote:
Not only did Harris tie for the NFL lead with six interceptions last season, but my computer vision shows that among safeties who play a position like his, he allowed the fewest reception yards. This means he either didn't allow the reception or limited it to the fewest yards after the catch. (This is one of the ways I measure "coverage" statistics – and he's really good here.)
Harris is entering his sixth NFL season after originally signing with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
In addition to his six picks in 2019, Harris also had 60 total tackles (team stats) with a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and 11 passes defensed.
PFF ranks all 32 QBs by 'deep passing performance'
All types of metrics can be used to measure NFL quarterbacks, including different passing depths.
Recently, Sam Monson of analytics site Pro Football Focus delved into quarterbacks around the league and ranked all 32 according to their PFF grade on deep passes (thrown at least 20 yards downfield).
Monson ranked Cousins 15th and wrote the following:
Cousins' overall deep numbers weren't spectacular, but when he hit on a shot, it tended to be an absolute dime. Cousins had 16 big-time throws on his 61 deep attempts and suffered from three drops on those deep passes. A highlight reel of only his best deep passes would be as good as that from any quarterback in the league, but he missed on more than he should have given his ability to make those passes.
As far as the other NFC North QBs?
Monson ranked Rodgers at 11th, saying he is "one of just six passers with 1,000 or more yards on deep shots" in 2019.
Detroit's Matthew Stafford came in at No. 18, and Chicago's Mitchell Trubisky was at No. 27.
View photos of Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach and Ring of Honor member Bud Grant as he celebrates his birthday on May 20.