In a review of the 2016 NFL season, Pro Football Focus ranked position groups according to their regular-season performances.
Pro Football Focus analyst Matt Claassen placed Minnesota's secondary at No. 7 overall. He graded cornerback Terence Newman the highest in both the "top overall" and "top coverage" categories with an 86.4 and 85.7, respectively. He gave the top run-defense grade to safety Harrison Smith at 90.3. Claassen wrote:
Minnesota was our top-ranked group when we last released secondary rankings around Week 7, but its play has since dropped off a bit. Harrison Smith did not fare as well in coverage after that point, as he dealt with injuries and recorded eight missed tackles in his last seven games. Despite being the oldest cornerback in the league by roughly five years, Terence Newman has continued to not only be the Vikings best corner, but a top-10 cornerback in the league. He allowed just 0.57 yards per snap in coverage, the lowest average for any cornerback this season. Xavier Rhodes also boasted league-bests among cornerbacks in completion percentage (48 percent) and passer rating (47.0) allowed into his coverage.
Claassen ranked the Cowboys, Giants and Patriots at No. 1, 2 and 3 overall, respectively.
Harrison Smith dubbed 1 of top-10 'best mannered' people 2016
Smith is used to being recognized for his on-field accomplishments, including the recent selection to his second straight Pro Bowl.
In a different system of ranking, however, Smith was recently noticed for his off-field character as well.
The National League of Junior Cotillions (NLJC) named Smith one of the top 10 "best-mannered" individuals of 2016. NLJC President Charles Winters is quoted on the organization's website:
"The selections are made based on each person's commitment to honor, dignity, and mannerly conduct. We feel these 10 individuals have distinguished themselves through excellence of character and conduct and applaud them for their contributions to society."
The following was written about Smith, listed at No. 9:
Harrison Smith – for being known as the NFL's most anonymous star and an example of great sportsmanship. Smith is a former Junior Cotillion student in the Knoxville Chapter under the direction of Mindy Coulter.
Other notable names on the list included Olympic gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles, actor Matt Damon and professional golfer Rory McIlroy.
Krammer grades Rudolph highest among TEs, RBs
As part of a multi-piece series, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune is working through the Vikings position groups and scoring them on a 1-5 scale. He explained his system as follows:
Grades are based on a 1-5 scale, with '5' marking an excellent season, '4' for above-average, '3' for average, '2' for below-average and '1' for failure to perform. Players who did not accrue a season (weren't on the active roster for at least six weeks) or played in three games or fewer are not graded. Based on game and practice observations, weekly film reviews and interviews. Drops are provided by Pro Football Focus analyst Trevor Lynch.
Krammer on Tuesday delved into the tight ends and running backs. Of both position groups, he handed out the highest score (4.0) to Kyle Rudolph. Krammer wrote:
Played a career-high 969 snaps [92.1%] as the tight end in a predominantly three-receiver offense. Sam Bradford's go-to option with 132 targets, most among all TEs. Grabbed career-best totals in receptions (83, third among TEs) and receiving yards (840, fourth). His seven touchdowns were the most since his 2012 Pro Bowl season. Appeared in all 16 games for a consecutive season, a first for his six-year career […] Tied the team lead with five drops. Flagged three times, twice for holding. Under contract for a $6.8 million salary cap hit next season.
Krammer gave Rhett Ellison, who returned in 2016 from a knee injury, and rookie David Morgan each a 2.5.
Krammer scored the running backs lower, assigning a 2.5 to Jerick McKinnon and full back Zach Line and a 2.0 to Adrian Peterson, who played just three games, and Matt Asiata.