The long-awaited "25 Under 25" rankings have been unveiled.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus annually puts together the list, and PFF's Trevor Sikkema included two Vikings on this year’s: wide receiver Justin Jefferson and left tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Jefferson came in at No. 2 behind Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons.
Jefferson, who will turn 24 next month, has taken the league by storm since being drafted in 2020 by the Vikings. Last season, he racked up 128 catches for 1,809 yards – both career highs – and eight touchdowns.
View the best photos of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson during the 2022 season.
Three straight seasons of elite receiving grades for Jefferson — 90.4 in 2020, 90.1 in 2021 and 90.2 in 2022 — means he stands alone at the top of the young receiver list in terms of dominance and consistency. He's unmatched, not just for his age, but among all NFL receivers.
Darrisaw landed at No. 15 in the rankings.
Darrisaw dealt with a groin injury in his rookie season that caused him to miss four games, and he finished the year with a 71.9 overall grade. But this past season, he played in 15 games, recording 910 snaps, and earned an elite 90.4 overall grade. That massive jump was extremely impressive, and something that should give him a baseline to be one of the top young offensive linemen in the game moving forward.
Jefferson and Darrisaw were among four players from the NFC North who made Sikkema's list.
The other two both are with Detroit: tackle Penei Sewell at No. 13 and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at No. 17.
Interestingly, the Vikings this season won't play the Lions until December. Minnesota is slated to host Detroit Week 16 and go on the road Week 18 to finish out the regular season.
Sewell has played more than 2,000 snaps on Detroit's offensive line over the past two seasons and looks like an All-Pro in the making. He earned overall grades of 77.0 and 80.6 in those two campaigns. He also allowed fewer sacks (five to two) and fewer total pressures (35 to 28) from 2021 to 2022.
Sikkema highlighted St. Brown's 2022 season, his second in the NFL.
He recorded an elite 90.4 receiving grade after earning a 79.4 receiving grade as a rookie. His 544 receiving yards after the catch was near the top of the league, as he became more of a well-rounded receiver. He played 430 snaps in the slot and 341 snaps out wide, serving as the focal point of the Lions high-scoring passing attack. With [Offensive Coordinator] Ben Johnson returning, it could be another huge year for St. Brown.
NFL.com ranks league divisions by QB; NFC North comes in at No. 4
Another annual piece by league pundits is NFL.com's ranking of the eight divisions by quarterback strength.
NFLcom's Adam Schein tackled the task, topping the list with three AFC divisions: the North, East and West.
View exclusive photos of the Vikings rookies participating in rookie minicamp shot by Vikings Team Photographer Andy Kenutis.
The Vikings division topped all NFC teams, with Schein ranking the NFC North at No. 4 with Kirk Cousins (Minnesota), Jared Goff (Detroit), Justin Fields (Chicago) and Jordan Love (Green Bay). Schein wrote:
The top two quarterbacks in this division – Goff and Cousins – don't get the credit they deserve. Last season, Goff was the second-best QB in the entire NFC, behind only Jalen Hurts. During the Lions 8-2 finish, the Pro Bowler posted a 17:1 TD-to-INT ratio. No, he's not a truly elite quarterback, but he's a fine fit on this rising Lions squad. Cousins is similar in that he's not elite but quite good. The man routinely puts up numbers, and this past season, he guided Minnesota to a 13-4 record by leading the league in fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives (eight apiece). Does he cower under the prime-time spotlight? He does. But he's a longtime staple in the 8-16 range of starting quarterbacks, which is nothing to scoff at.
Fields is the most fascinating figure in this quartet, and not just because he took the league by storm last season with 1,143 yards on the ground, including a whopping 10 gains of 20-plus yards. In addition to his dynamic legs, Fields boasts a big arm and solid frame. Chicago upgraded his protection in free agency (G Nate Davis) and the draft (T Darnell Wright) while also nabbing him a No. 1 wide receiver via trade (DJ Moore). It's Year 3. It's go time. And I'm a huge believer.
Love is the most questionable figure in this group, and not just because he's started one game and attempted a grand total of 83 regular-season passes.
View photos of Vikings rookies portraying their game face after writing words that hold personal meaning or motivation to them.
Schein ranked the AFC West, which the Vikings are slated to play this season, just above the NFC North at No. 3. The Broncos are led by Russell Wilson, Chiefs by Patrick Mahomes, Raiders by Jimmy Garoppolo and Chargers by Justin Herbert.
What more can be said about Mahomes? Prior to last season, he lost one of the most explosive weapons in league history (Tyreek Hill). In the playoffs, he suffered one of the more dreaded lingering ailments (high ankle sprain). And yet, when all was said and done, he emerged with a second MVP and second Lombardi Trophy. In five seasons as Kansas City's starter, Mahomes has made five Pro Bowls and played in five AFC Championship Games, winning three of them to advance to the Super Bowl. He's a majestic, wildly unique all-timer who makes the impossible possible. No wonder he wins 80 percent of his games (79-19 NFL record, including the playoffs).
In terms of natural talent, Herbert isn't far from Mahomes. He's the kind of quarterback you build in a lab: a strapping athlete at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds with a golden arm. Still just 25 years old, Herbert's poised to author his best season yet in Year 4. With first-round pick Quentin Johnston joining Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Chargers have a legit Big Three at wide receiver – with an emphasis on BIG. I can't wait to see how Los Angeles new offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, maximizes the Bolts aerial attack.