NFL.com's Dan Hanzus compiled a list of players who he thinks are first-ballot Hall of Famers as we speak. As you can imagine, the 2012 NFL MVP running back Adrian Peterson cracks the list. Adrian is the only non-quarterback or coach on the list.
Hanzus profiles his first-ballot ballers:
Drew Brees *
Five iconic guys right there. If you argue against Manning and Brady, you should be institutionalized. *I suppose you could make a case to remove All Day from this tier if he falls off a statistical cliff, but I still don't think it would matter. Drew Brees is a mortal lock thanks to his monster numbers, memorable Super Bowl triumph and Certified Good Guy rep.*
As for Belichick? There perhaps could be a contingent that will try to hold Spygate over his head (get over it, guys), but we'll give the final word to Peyton Manning: "Coach Belichick is the best coach that I've ever competed against and I think it's safe to say he'll go down as the greatest NFL coach of all time."
Good enough for me.
Peterson's body of work up to this point in his career is comparable with the best to ever play. No surprise here that he is mentioned as first-ballot Hall of Famer.
In the last week, two players that have recently put pen to paper with Vikings, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Chris Crocker, both have mentioned the core group of young players on the roster as a reason why they inked their deals with the club.
Star Tribune's columnist and former Vikings beat write Chip Scoggins analyzed the Vikings foundation of core young players. Scoggins also gained insight from Vikings Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Spielman:
The Vikings have 17 of what I'll classify as "core players." That doesn't include rookies because they haven't played a snap in the NFL so it's premature to put them in that category.
But of those 17 core players, 13 are between the ages of 23 and 28, the ideal range for maximizing a player's talent. That group includes Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Matt Kalil, Xavier Rhodes and Blair Walsh. (Adrian Peterson is 29.)
Even the Vikings' two prized free-agent signings this offseason — Linval Joseph (25) and Captain Munnerlyn (26) — fit that mold.
The NFL's salary cap creates fluidity in rosters that make retention rates fluctuate sharply some years. The Seattle Seahawks set the template for roster construction last season by winning the Super Bowl with an average age of 26.4 years.
A nucleus of talented players in their mid-20s who are at the end of their first contract or on their second contract serves as an ideal foundation.
"If we can win with these guys when they're 24, 25 and have these guys under contract, in theory, you're going to be able to maintain that success," Spielman said. "It's not going to be an 'All In' one year."
The in-depth column takes a look at the roster the Vikings had in 2010 and compares it to it's current state. Definitely worth the read.
Friday marks the return of Vikings football, but Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes it will not mark the returner of the NFL's best kickoff returner. Cordarrelle Patterson may see some action with the first team offense against Oakland on Friday night, but Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer said on Monday that he'd like to get a look at others when it comes to kickoff returns.
"I haven't talked to coach Zimmer about this yet, but I would maybe like to get him one or two later in the preseason," Priefer said about Patterson. "But I think Week 1 (of the preseason), unless he tells me different, then I would like to see the other guys."
Those other guys will be Cain Kolter, Jerick McKinnon and Adam Thielen. Priefer also named Marcus Sherels as one who could see a return or two just to "get him into the swing of things."
- Pioneer Press reporter Brian Murphy writes about safety Chris Crocker reuniting with Mike Zimmer.
- Everson Griffen "Let's party together," from Viking Update's Tim Yotter.