There's no doubt that the Vikings defensive line ranks among the best in the league.
Minnesota's front four demonstrated its dominance in 2017, when the group helped the Vikings defense rank No. 1 overall in yards allowed and points allowed per game.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently assembled a list of the NFL's top defensive lines. He tabbed the Vikings at No. 4 overall, although one could argue for a higher placement. Rosenthal wrote the following:
*The Vikings starting front four fits together like a starting five in basketball. Every player has a defined role and complements the rest of the group. Everson Griffen is the leader, a premier pass rusher with a complete game who plays better after every contract extension. Danielle Hunter is his young apprentice, teeming with untapped athleticism. Linval Joseph is the dogged veteran who has been among the league's best run stoppers since he came into the NFL. *
Rosenthal added that Sheldon Richardson, whom the Vikings signed in free agency, is "more disruptive against the pass from the inside."
Rosenthal's reasoning for not ranking Minnesota higher was based on the Vikings having "less depth than usual" at the position due to a majority of the reserves – with the exception of veteran Brian Robison – being younger and less experienced.
Coming in at Nos. 1-3, respectively, on the list were the Jaguars, Eagles and Rams. Rosenthal opined the Jaguars at the top "because of the depth and diversity of their top players."
Rudolph contributing to his alma mater's new fitness center
Before Kyle Rudolph was a standout at Notre Dame and even longer before he donned a Purple Vikings jersey, the tight end impressed on the gridiron at Elder High School in Cincinnati.
Now, Rudolph is giving back.
According to Cincinnati.com, Rudolph "has offered a sizeable donation" to help bring a state-of-the-art fitness center to his alma mater. Adam Baum wrote:
*Elder unveiled plans Friday for the "Panther Fitness Center," a two-story building which will sit next to the high school on the corner of Vincent Avenue and Regina Avenue, in front of the Schaeper Center. It will be the first new structure built on the main campus since 1980 when Elder's basketball gym, the Memorial Fieldhouse, was completed. *
The first floor will be a weight room that doubles the size of the current space, and the second floor will be a 6,000-square-foot multi-purpose room.
Plans are to break ground in August or September for the 19,000-square-foot facility, which will be constructed in two phases.
According to Baum, the project first became an idea in 2014 when Rudolph signed an extension with Minnesota.
Baum quoted Rudolph, who said the following:
"The main reason I wanted to do it is I know what this place did for me. I was born a Panther. I was born to a dad that went here, grandfather that went here, uncles that went here, I went here, my brother went here and now we have cousins here. So this place is something that's always near and dear to my heart, and I had every resource and every opportunity when I was here to become the man and the player that I am today, and I want kids that are coming here now and in the future to have every opportunity as well."
Limited-edition Thielen bobbleheads being released
Vikings memorabilia gatherers will soon have another item to add to their collection.
According to the KVRR Local News website, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum will be releasing "limited-edition Adam Thielen bobbleheads in his Minnesota State University, Mankato and Minnesota Vikings uniforms."
Joe Radske wrote that the officially licensed bobbleheads, which will be the first ones in Thielen's likeness, will cost $40 apiece. Or, the set of two can be purchased for $75.