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Lunchbreak: ESPN & PFF Rank Vikings Roster Among NFL's Best

We're a little more than 10 weeks until the start of the 2018 NFL season.

And while there is plenty of moving and shaking that will happen once the games start, the Vikings appear primed to make another deep postseason run after advancing to the NFC Championship this past season.

ESPN and Pro Football Focus teamed up to rank all 32 rosters across the league, and put Minnesota in the fifth spot.

The Vikings had 10 players who graded out as "elite" or "high quality" players based on the 2017 season, including seven players who are expected to start on defense.

The roster was led by safety Harrison Smith, an All-Pro who had a grade of 97.0.

Harrison Smith's 97.0 grade last year established a new PFF-era record for the safety position. He missed just two tackles all season, second best in the league among safeties with at least 20 on both run and pass plays (Arizona's Antoine Bethea missed just one).

Offensively, running back Dalvin Cook and wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs had "high quality" marks.

ESPN and PFF said Minnesota's offense could be even better in 2018 if the Vikings new quarterback pushes the ball down the field.

The Vikings certainly hope new signal-caller Kirk Cousins brings with him the deep-passing ability he displayed last year in Washington, as his 106.4 passer rating on pass attempts that traveled at least 20 yards through the air was fifth best in the league.

The Vikings were behind Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans and New England on the list.

NFL.com tabs Zimmer as top-10 coach

Another day, another top 10 accolade for Mike Zimmer.

NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison recently ranked the head coaches around the NFL and slotted the Vikings Head Coach in at the 10*th*spot.

Harrison wrote:

Zimmer proved his mettle once again last season, leading the Vikings to an NFC Championship Game appearance despite losing his starting quarterback and tailback early in the season. Even without Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, Minnesota won the NFC North with ease. Zimmer rode a fine season from Case Keenum, while keeping the media from building up his backup QB too much. Managing the locker room, as well as building a championship-level defense, are two big reasons Zimmer is in the top 10 on this list.

Earlier this week, Zimmer was ranked as the seventh-best coach in the league by The Sporting News.

Zimmer, who is entering his fifth season in Minnesota, is 39-25 during his time with the Vikings. He has led Minnesota to two of the past three NFC North titles.

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